Tue, Dec 05, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Northeast monsoon brings air pollution from China: EPA

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

A group of about 60 university students, wearing headbands that read “Give me clean air” and masks bearing the Chinese character for “angry,” demonstrate outside the Taichung County Government building yesterday.

Photo: Su Meng-chuan, Taipei Times

Air pollution brought from China by a northeast monsoon yesterday began affecting northern Taiwan and is expected to linger until noon today, Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) Environmental Monitoring and Information Management Director-General Chang Shuenn-chin (張順欽) said.

Hourly average maximum concentration of PM2.5 — fine particulate matter measuring 2.5 micrometers or smaller — is expected to reach between 80 and 90 micrograms per cubic meter in certain regions, which is unhealthy for all people, he said.

Pollutants from China worsen Taiwan’s air quality from November to May every year, he said.

While the northeast monsoon is expected to weaken today, another cold front is forecast to arrive on Friday, Chang said.

The agency earlier this year set up an air monitoring station on New Taipei City’s Cape Fuguijiao (富貴角), Taiwan’s northernmost point, to better observe pollutants coming from overseas, he said.

The EPA releases two air quality index forecasts every day at 10:30am and 4:30pm, but the data obtained from the Central Weather Bureau might not always be precise, EPA Deputy Minister Chan Shun-kuei (詹順貴) said in response to media queries about delays in the forecast system.

The agency would release more forecasts during the day if necessary, Chan said, adding that it would also improve the system’s efficiency.

While environmentalists have been calling for reducing the use of coal in energy generation, Premier William Lai (賴清德) in a radio interview yesterday said that reducing coal use at coal-fired power plants alone cannot solve the problem of air pollution.

Pollution from coal-fired plants accounts for only 2.9 percent of the nation’s air pollution, Lai said.

However, Chan said that pollution from coal-fired power plants makes up 9.9 percent to the nation’s air pollution, citing EPA data, adding that he does not know where Lai’s data came from.

Air pollution from coal-fired power plants might have even higher proportions in central and southern Taiwan, Chan added.

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