Sat, Sep 09, 2017 - Page 3 News List

NASA instruments measure Taichung, Kaohsiung pollution

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) yesterday said it would study the causes of air pollution in Taichung and Kaohsiung using NASA and National Central University technology.

Residents of Taichung and Kaohsiung grapple with worse air quality than other cities, especially when northeastern monsoon winds increase pollution in the south and middle of the country from October to March.

The national annual average concentration of airborne PM2.5 — fine particles measuring 2.5 micrometers or less in size — fell from 24 micrograms per cubic meter in 2013 to 20 micrograms per cubic meter last year, EPA Department of Air Quality Protection and Noise Control Director-General Tsai Hung-teh (蔡鴻德) said.

However, the PM2.5 readings in most municipalities, with the exception of Yilan, Hualien and Taitung counties in eastern Taiwan, still exceeded the EPA standard of 15 micrograms per m3 per year, Tsai said.

Further studies of the composition of PM2.5 and the particles’ transmission is needed, he said, adding that from this month through December, the EPA would cooperate with the Taichung City Government to monitor air quality.

Three mobile facilities provided by NASA, National Central University and the city’s Environmental Protection Bureau are to be installed around the city’s Tunghai University to collect data, Tsai said.

NASA Chemical, Optical and Microphysical Measurements of In-situ Troposphere instruments will be used to study basic properties of atmospheric aerosols and trace gases, he said, adding that the plan is part of the two agencies’ collaboration since 2006.

After the project in Taichung finishes at the end of the year, the EPA is to conduct a similar project in Kaohsiung, Tsai said.

The EPA on Friday last week raised the pollution tax on fuel.

Mobile sources account for between 30 and 37 percent of the nation’s PM2.5 emissions, the agency said.

The pollution tax on gasoline is now NT$0.3 per liter, while the tax on diesel was raised to NT$0.4 per liter.

The tax for stationary pollution sources is also to be adjusted by the end of this month, EPA Deputy Minister Chan Shun-kuei (詹順貴) said on Tuesday.

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