Sat, Nov 03, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Tainan uses drones to patrol for illegal air pollution

By Wan Yu-chen and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The Tainan Environmental Protection Bureau on Thursday deployed aerial drones over the Yongkang Technology Industrial Park (永康科技工業區) to monitor air pollution as it launched the Soaring Eagle program.

The bureau in a press statement said that four drones successfully combed the 337 hectare industrial zone and inspectors, monitoring the feed in real time, would respond immediately to any detected pollution source.

Drones can monitor areas that are too remote, inaccessible or vast for ground-based inspectors to cover effectively, while providing the bureau with the capability to investigate pollution incidents almost instantaneously, bureau director Lin Chien-san (林建三) said.

The bureau aims to check factories, construction sites, bare land, and patrol for the illegal incineration of agricultural waste and dumping of waste material, he said.

Additionally, the operation served as a large-scale pollution response simulation for authorities from Yunlin and Chiayi counties, and Kaohsiung, which held concurrent drills, he said.

Later this month, drones are to be deployed to enforce regulations against the open-air burning of chaff and waste, which has been a major source of pollution during harvest season, the bureau said.

Inspection teams would be dispatched to areas where open-air burning is known to have occurred in the past and respond to pollution warnings from the bureau’s sensors, including on drones and installations at vantage points, the bureau said.

Special attention is given to the 16,000-hectare strip along the Sun Yat-sen Freeway (National Freeway No. 1), it said.

To prevent dust drift, the bureau is to cover 15 hectares of bare land with mats made of straw procured from local farms, it said.

Burning trash in the open is harmful to public health and punishable by a fine of NT$12,000 to NT$100,000, the bureau said, adding that members of the public should report such activities to the authorities.

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