An acid rain alert system will be launched next year at the soonest after the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) has gathered more weather forecast data, an EPA official said yesterday.
Rain with a pH of 5 or less is defined as acid rain, which causes toxic chemicals in the soil and rocks to leech into the water system, and can harm aquatic life and erode outdoor structures, the agency said.
Rain samples collected last year had an average pH of 5.31, with those from Hsinchu reaching 4.73 and those in Taoyuan’s Jhongli District (中壢) reaching 4.79, data released by the agency on Saturday showed.
The rain in Taichung, Tainan and Yunlin County last year was relatively mild, with rain samples measuring pH values of 6.19, 6.03 and 6.09 respectively, the survey found.
During fall and winter, the northeastern monsoon often brings air pollutants from overseas, but stops in Hsinchu, causing the city’s rain to be more acidic, EPA Department of Air Quality Protection and Noise Control Director-General Tsai Hung-teh (蔡鴻德) said.
Despite the pH level of the nation’s rain improving over the past few years, the EPA hopes to launch an alert system for acid rain next year, he said.
However, the agency needs more precise weather forecast data, he said, adding that a detailed timetable is not yet available for the system.
While the Central Weather Bureau is one of the agencies that would be incorporated into the agency after the latter is restructured as the ministry of environmental protection and natural resources, the system’s setup would not be affected by the restructuring plan, given that the two agencies have worked together monitoring rain quality on a long-term basis, Tsai added.
Acid rain is harmful to human skin, as well as soil and crops, Air Clean Taiwan chairperson Yeh Guang-peng (葉光芃) said, adding that people should avoid exposure to it by using umbrellas or raincoats.
Additional reporting by CNA
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