Environmental authorities are to meet weekly, monthly or quarterly to improve integration of air pollution control efforts as “air pollution season” starts this month, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said yesterday.
The nation’s air quality on Wednesday worsened as a southwesterly wind carryied pollutants from China to Taiwan, EPA data showed.
Air quality monitoring stations in western Taiwan and outlying islands showed “red” alerts — meaning air quality was unhealthy for all groups, the data showed.
Photo: Huang Chih-yuan, Taipei Times
Nearly one-third of the nation’s air pollution is from overseas sources, Department of Air Quality Protection and Noise Control Director-General Tsai Meng-yu (蔡孟裕) told a news conference in Taipei.
Over the past two days, state-run Taiwan Power Co reduced power generation at its coal-burning Taichung Power Plant, Sinda Power Plant in Kaohsiung and Linkou Power Plant in New Taipei City, as well as the oil-fired Siehe Power Plant in Keelung, Tsai said.
Between them, the four plants have kept 78 tonnes of sulfur oxides, 76.1 tonnes of nitrogen oxides and 5.9 tonnes of suspended particles from entering the atmosphere, he said.
Local officials are required to increase inspections of pollution sources and washing of streets when air quality is poor, he said, adding that the EPA issues air quality forecasts 72 hours in advance and three air quality reports a day.
To improve tracking of the effects of pollution control efforts, environmental officials in Chiayi County, Chiayi City, Pingtung County, Tainan and Kaohsiung, would meet once every week from this month to March next year, Tsai said.
Officials in central Taiwan would have monthly meetings, while those in the north would meet once every quarter, he said.
At the first meeting in the south, which was hosted by EPA Deputy Minister Shen Chih-hsiu (沈志修), Pingtung County Government officials asked the agency to help prevent farmers from burning agricultural waste, while other officials asked for help analyzing air pollutants, Tsai said.
Factories pay additional pollution fees in the autumn and winter and they are to be increased to encourage firms to cut pollution, department section chief Su I-yun (蘇意筠) said.
Air quality from today through Monday is not expected to improve much, especially in central areas, where reduced wind speed is less likely to disperse pollution, the EPA said.
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