Rains in Keelung are the most acidic in the nation, according to information from the Central Weather Bureau (CWB).
Keelung is the first region affected by seasonal weather fronts from the northeast that bring a lot of rainfall, washing acidic particulate matter down on residents’ heads, CWB Keelung station chief Tang Shun-jan (湯舜然) said.
“Due to Keelung’s location far forward into the weather front, the reaction [of particulate matter and rain] is much stronger than elsewhere in the nation,” he said.
Rainwater with a pH level lower than five is considered acid rain and the bureau has found Keelung’s rain has been acidic for 18 consecutive years — since 1999, he said.
“Not once from January to October this year did we find the pH level of Keelung’s rain to be higher than five, while the annual average has been 4.5,” he said.
Once dissolved in rain, particulate matter in the atmosphere tends to become acidic, and northeasterly seasonal winds and typhoons often bring high concentrations of rain and particulate matter, Tang said.
While rains across the nation tend to be acidic, Keelung’s geographical location has made its rains more acidic, he said.
“Generally, Keelung’s rains tested at pH levels of four to five, falling to pH levels in the high threes only once or twice a year,” he said.
Acid rain damages the protective membrane of the skin, causing irritation and itchiness that in severe cases become an infection or flaky skin, Keelung-based dermatologist Chiu Wan-ting (邱婉婷) said.
Keelung is the first port of call for seasonal northeasterly winds and has pollution caused by high particulate matter, resulting in many cases of full-body atopic eczema, as well as asthma, she said.
For protection from particulate matter, the public should always use an umbrella when it rains, wear a hat or mask and clean bedding regularly to remove pollutants and mites, she said.
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