All ships, commercial aircraft and road vehicles would have to follow stricter rules for fuel from July as part of efforts to reduce sulfur oxides and carcinogenic pollutants to improve air quality, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said yesterday.
The combustion of fuel containing sulfur and hydrogen produces sulfur oxides and hydrocarbons, causing air pollution, acid rain and smog, Department of Air Quality Protection and Noise Control Director-General Tsai Meng-yu (蔡孟裕) told a news conference in Taipei.
To curb pollution from land, sea and airborne vehicles, the EPA has tightened regulations on fuel for ships and aircraft, as well as gasoline and diesel for road vehicles, he said.
Photo: Lo Chi, Taipei Times
From July, all ships must use fuel with a sulfur content of less than 0.5 percent, instead of the current 3.5 percent, Tsai said.
Since last year, the Commercial Port Act (商港法) has required the nation’s vessels operating on international routes to use fuel with a sulfur content of less than 0.5 percent, which has reduced sulfur dioxide levels by 29 percent in Keelung and 45 percent in Kaohsiung’s Siaogang District (小港) from 2018, Tsai said.
After the new rule covering all ships goes into effect, it would eliminate an estimated 5,229 tonnes of sulfur dioxide emissions in a year, while sulfur dioxide levels in Keelung and Siaogang are expected to drop a further 9 percent and 16 percent respectively from last year’s levels, he said.
While Taiwan is not a member state of the International Maritime Organization, it is voluntarily observing the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, which helps improve air quality and allows domestic ports to remain competitive globally, he added.
Commercial aircraft would be required to use fuel with no more than 0.2 percent sulfur content, less than the current 0.3 percent limit imposed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Tsai said, adding that military aircraft are not covered by the EPA’s rule.
The limit for benzene in gasoline is to be reduced from 1 percent to 0.9 percent, while the maximum allowed level of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in diesel would be tightened from 11 percent to 8 percent, Tsai said.
Benzene and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are carcinogens that affect human health and the environment, he said.
By the time the new rules go into effect, all gas stations run by CPC Corp, Taiwan and Formosa Plastics Group are to provide qualified fuel products, the EPA said, urging people not to use fuel from unknown sources.
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