As of 9 am this morning, the EPA air quality monitoring network reported dangerously high concentrations of PM 2.5 particulate matter in the skies over the western half of Taiwan, with Yunlin, Chiayi, and Tainan reaching the highest level of purple or level 10, which is considered "extremely high."
In addition to Yunlin County, Chiayi, and Tainan, a PM 2.5 level of purple was also reported by monitoring stations in Kinmen, Lunbei, Mailiao, Lioujiao, Xingang, Hsinying Park, and Annan. Meanwhile, a level 9 red alert was issued in New Taipei, Taoyuan, Miaoli, Taichung, and Changhua.
The country's 10-tier PM 2.5 index – 10 being the highest – is defined as air pollution that contains fine particles smaller than 2.5 millimeters in diameter and is linked to several chronic health problems, according to the EPA. Each tier on the index also has a corresponding shade of the colors green, orange, red and purple in increasing order of density of PM 2.5 pollutants.
The EPA explained that this wave of poor air quality, including the west to the north of Tainan, Kinmen, and north of the Yun Chia Nan area, is being caused soaring temperatures, weak winds, and poor conditions for atmospheric diffusion.
The EPA reminds people in affected areas to wear protective masks and to reduce physical exertion if they experience discomfort, such as eye pain, cough or sore throat. Adults and children with heart, respiratory and cardiovascular disease, as well as the elderly should avoid prolonged or strenuous outdoor physical activity.