Breaking News, World News and Taiwan News.

EPA issues red alert as air pollution levels spike

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Air pollution reached red-alert levels in many parts of Taiwan yesterday, as large amounts of pollutants brought by the approaching cold air mass from China formed smog over the island, according to environmental authorities.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warned residents against staying outdoors for extended periods of time, particularly children, elderly people and patients with heart and lung disease, who are more vulnerable to air pollution.

Many air quality monitoring stations islandwide detected high levels pollutant particles in the air, the EPA said.

Air quality started to deteriorate in many parts of northern Taiwan at 5 a.m. yesterday, and as the cold air mass from China moved southwards carrying massive amounts of pollutant particles, smog also formed over Central and Southern Taiwan, the EPA said.

According to the EPA, as of noon yesterday, pollutant particles in the air reached red-alert levels along the entire west coast. It said the smog over Taiwan will last until tomorrow, and advised residents to put on masks when going out.

January 7, 2014    taipeir2001@
The pollution is not only from China, Taiwan has a serious air pollution issue of it's own, especially Central and South Taiwan every Winter in particular.

After it rains in Taichung, the air will be clear and you can see the mountains many kms distance. Then within one day the air will become very hazy and the pollution will visibly build day by day until a strong wind or rain front comes in.

Wash and repeat.
March 6, 2014    silas10961@
Thank you, China Post, however, let us not comfort ourselves too much by putting the blame on China. Taiwan's CO2 and noxious smog emissions are half as bad as China's, which itself is 10 x above what can be considered still healthy.

It is desperately late in the game to finally start applying stringent emissions restrictions to Taiwan's vast armies of noxious scooters. This is the foremost contributor to poor air quality in Taiwan. Not China. Not the power factories and industry. It's the several million scooters that are at the very heart of the problem. Time for change!
March 7, 2014    miller.henry641@
Too many 2-cycle motor scooters polluting Taiwan air.
March 9, 2014    silas10961@
miller.henry641,

The 2-cycle scooters have actually been banned and are very seldom seen in Taipei today. They were certainly a serious problem, a major contributor, however the 2-cycle engine problem has largely been resolved. A plus point for TW.

Nevertheless, according to an Academia Sinica report, Taiwan has the highest density of vehicles (overwhelmingly scooters) per square km of any nation on the planet. Therefore, motor vehicle traffic is key to addressing pollution here, in particular the PM2.5 emissions (the black soot-like dust seen everywhere in Taipei, and apparently regarded as normal). This gets very deep into the lungs.

Kind regards,
David
(I'll provide a link to the Sinica report next, separately, in case China Post's policy excludes links.)

March 11, 2014    silas10961@
The Academia Sinica report is a bit old, but the relative relationships may still be accurate. Scroll to the very bottom for the vehicle density statistic: http://www.rcec.sinica.edu.tw/tw_about_history_en.html
Thank you China Post for allowing this discussion.
March 12, 2014    miller.henry641@
silas10961@ wrote:
miller.henry641,

The 2-cycle scooters have actually been banned and are very seldom seen in Taipei today. They were certainly a serious problem, a major contributor, however the 2-cycle engine problem has largely been resolved. A plus point for TW.

Nevertheless, according to an Academia Sinica report, Taiwan has the highest density of vehicles (overwhelmingly scooters) per square km of any nation on the planet. Therefore, motor vehicle traffic is key to addressing pollution here, in particular the PM2.5 emissions (the black soot-like dust seen everywhere in Taipei, and apparently regarded as normal). This gets very deep into the lungs.

Kind regards,
David
(I'll provide a link to the Sinica report next, separately, in case China Post's policy excludes links.)

David - thank you for your kind reply.

I am aware of the "ban" on 2-cycle scooters; but as is amply demonstrated, a "law" requires actual 'enforcement' to have any validity.
This enforcement, sadly, is lacking.

The PM 2.5 is, and rightfully so, a grave concern to many of us here. Rightly so. Particulates of this size pose a valid danger to the health and welfare of all living creatures.
This danger, cannot and should not, be discounted.
It seems particularly worse this year.
March 12, 2014    taipeir2001@
There's a lack of research in Taiwan to determine how much pollution comes from which source. It could be anything from 25% to 50% of the air pollution in Taiwan is from motor vehicles (but it depends on the local area). Obviously the refineries down south are major contributors to the problems there. Then Taichung City has the world's biggest coal fired power station on it's doorstep (approx 5 GW) and another massive one that is part of the Mailiao complex and operated by Formosa Plastics company (approx 3 GW). There is also ANOTHER large coal power station on Tongxiao beach just to the North in Miaoli.

Then at certain times of year farmers burn their rice stalks resulting in a haze across most of the nation. Finally gravel extraction activities disturb river beds and large amount of sand is blown around during the dry season. I've not even mentioned emissions from the large number of factories (legal/illegal) here.

So Taiwan's sources of air pollution are numerous and problematic.

Taiwanese people are ignorant of their own environment, coming out in massive protests against nuclear power (which has never had any major environmental incident here) yet almost completely ignoring air pollution from coal power stations and motor vehicles! The pollution that actually kills people and lowers your quality of life EVERYDAY.
March 13, 2014    silas10961@
Thank you both for your contributions.

I will state that I'm viewing this issue with the eyes of a native of Los Angeles who now lives in Taipei. Delighted with many aspects of life here, the only complaint of any significance I have is certainly the air pollution, and very specifically, vehicle air pollution.

Background: I was a co-founder of an influential non-profit in California dedicated to clean air and reducing the nation's addiction to oil and gas-guzzling cars, and studied related matters in graduate school at Washington University. The problem here is indeed quite unrecognized by most residents. To raise awareness, an information campaign that presents fundamental facts and outlines the essential steps forward is certainly called for. But before exploring that, let me isolate the issue of vehicle pollution relative to industry and power generation for a moment.

I'm aware that Taichung is the site of world-record holding power plant. The case needs to be made, however, that there is less inconclusiveness regarding the relative total pollution generated from power plants and industry compared to vehicle traffic in terms of their health impact on the densely populated areas. The plants run around the clock, and one can observe the shift in pollution levels monitored and reported throughout the day on aqicn.org, comparing peak traffic times, and, to a lesser extent, the burning of crops and other matter. During CNY, the PM levels are off the charts.

On the ground, for the urban resident, in a city with the world's most densely packed vehicles, it is overwhelmingly motor vehicle that is generating the emissions most harmful to human health.

Taipei must massively incentivize adoption of electric and clean burning scooters, as is currently done in China. The impact here could be dramatic over a much smaller and more densely packed area, a space that is not experiencing the world's largest construction boom, and building new coal-fired power plants every 2 weeks. China differs in such essential ways.

Taipei needs to see the introduction of electric buses and above all, low/zero emission scooters. Don't be reduced to indecision by becoming overwhelmed with the power generation facilities' contribution in this. There's an entirely robust case for ordering and dealing with the problems ranked by priority, dealing with vehicles 1st. Awareness needs to be spread from the ground up, before this government, the EPA, and big business may respond.

A note. The EPA has a program in place now for anyone to report gross polluters and receive compensation in return, which is entirely underutilized. For every photograph showing a license plate while the vehicle is producing smoke, 500NT is given to the supplying individual. That's a program an environmental group here should involve themselves with on a massive scale, reporting several hundred scooters in a given district each week. It's an actionable item with fast results.
Write a Comment
CAPTCHA Code Image
Type in image code
Change the code
 Receive China Post promos
 Respond to this email
 More of the nation's ICT firms confident over prospects of Q1 
Smog hangs over Taipei yesterday as pollutant particles brought by an approaching cold air mass from China reached the red-alert level. The Environmental Protection Agency said the smog will linger until tomorrow. (CNA)

Enlarge Photo
Subscribe  |   Advertise  |   RSS Feed  |   About Us  |   Career  |   Contact Us
Sitemap  |   Top Stories  |   Taiwan  |   China  |   Business  |   Asia  |   World  |   Sports  |   Life  |   Arts & Leisure  |   Health  |   Editorial  |   Commentary
Travel  |   Movies  |   TV Listings  |   Classifieds  |   Bookstore  |   Getting Around  |   Weather  |   Guide Post  |   Student Post  |   English Courses  |   Terms of Use  |   Sitemap
  chinapost search