The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) yesterday said a sandstorm from China over the past two days caused air quality to fall to the “unhealthy” level at 28 stations, but air quality was expected to return to normal levels last night.
The EPA’s Environmental Monitoring and Data Processing Bureau said its data and simulations showed that the air quality in northern Taiwan had been affected by sand and pollutants from China carried by the strengthened northeastern monsoon wind on Sunday.
Influenced by the sandstorm, PM10 (fine particle matter in the air smaller than 10 micrometers in size) concentrations reached their highest level on Sunday — 244 micrograms per cubic meter detected at New Taipei City’s (新北市) Wanli Township (萬里), 182 micrograms per cubic meter detected at Yilan County, and 224 micrograms per cubic meter and 194 micrograms per cubic meter detected at Kinmen and Matsu Islands respectively.
At present, the ambient air quality standard set for PM10 in Taiwan is a daily mean concentrations of 125 micrograms per cubic meter and annual mean concentration of 65 micrograms per cubic meter.
In addition to being affected by the sandstorm in China, the air quality in central and southern Taiwan was also worsened by dust, causing the air pollutant concentration level to reach as high as 459 micrograms per cubic meter in Yunlin County’s Taisi Township (台西) and 582 micrograms per cubic meter in Chiayi County’s Puzih City (朴子).
As the northeastern monsoon weakened last night, the EPA has lifted the sandstorm warning .
Even though the northeastern monsoon weakened, the agency said that poor atmospheric dispersion conditions might continue to affect air quality in southern Taiwan, so pe0ople with cardiovascular or respiratory tract diseases should avoid vigorous outdoor physical activities at this time.