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Air quality over northern, central Taiwan poses health risk

Air quality over northern, central Taiwan poses health risk

Taipei, March 16 (CNA) The sky was as gray as concrete over places north of central Taiwan Monday, when an air monitoring report by the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said the air pollutant concentration in those areas had reached medium to high levels, posing a health risk. The concentration of particulates measuring 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5) in the air were detected at the highest level of over 71 micrograms per cubic meter (?g/m3) in the central counties of Nantou, Changhua and Yunlin that day, the report said. The PM2.5 concentration was also found to be medium to high -- meaning between 36?g/m3 and 70 ?g/m3 -- in northern Taiwan areas, including Hsinchu and Miaoli counties. The air quality was the result of typical winter weather in which northeasterly winds blow pollutants from China to Taiwan, the EPA report said. Over the past days, particulate matters increased in the northern and central areas where wind was still thanks to a stable weather condition, said officials at the EPA's Department of Environmental Monitoring and Information Management. In contrast, the air quality over Kaohsiung and Pingtung County in southern Taiwan, where air quality is normally worse than in central and northern areas, was relatively good that day. The officials attributed the phenomenon to the influence of a southerly wind blowing the dirty air northward. They also predicted that the condition will last for two to three more days. Meanwhile, the bad air quality drew concern from opposition Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker Liu Chien-kuo (???), who blamed the problem partly on pollution produced by petrochemical companies in central and southern areas. At Monday's hearing of the legislative environmental hygiene committee, Liu criticized the Ministry of Economic Affairs for developing the petrochemical industry in the country, leaving the people to face the damage caused by the sector. The annual average PM2.5 concentration reached 34.4 ?g/m3 in Douliou, Yunlin County, home of the sixth naphtha cracking plant, far higher than the standard 15 ?g/m3 allowed by EPA regulations, Liu said. He demanded that the EPA come up with resolutions within three days to the problem, which he said is leading the public to "a slow death." (By Chang Ming-hsuan and Elizabeth Hsu)


Updated : 2021-09-18 04:43 GMT+08:00