21 stations flash red alert for 'unhealthy' air in western Taiwan

Much of western Taiwan reports 'unhealthy' air quality with 21 stations flashing red alerts

21 stations flash red alert for "unhealthy" air quality (Taiwan EPA map)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) issued an air pollution warning on Saturday for western Taiwan, with 21 monitoring stations flashing red warnings, which indicates the air is unhealthy for the general population. 

According to observation data from the EPA's Air Quality Monitoring Network as of 9:50 a.m. , 21 monitoring stations have flashed red alerts, including Kinmen, Hukou, Toufen, Miaoli, Shalu, Xitun, Chungming, Xianxi, Changhua, Lunbei, Mailiao, Taixi, Chiayi, Xingang, Puzi, Hsinying, Shanhua, Annan, Tainan, Qiaotou, and Qianzhen.

Today, much of the western region of Taiwan will experience air quality that is unhealthy for the general population, and the EPA recommends that residents in the areas affected reduce outdoor activities.

In addition, Matsu, Hsinchu, Keelung, Central Taiwan, Pingtung and Wanli and Linkou districts of New Taipei indicated a level of orange, meaning that sensitive groups should pay special attention.

The EPA uses a six-color air pollution warning system, in which a maroon alert is the highest and most severe warning, which indicates “hazardous” air quality, and is followed by purple, red, orange, yellow, and green alerts.

According to the EPA standards, a code red alert runs from 151 to 200 on the AQI scale. AQI levels above 150 are considered “unhealthy for everyone,” and members of sensitive groups may experience health effects. 

The EPA reminds people in the areas reporting level red pollution that if they experience discomfort such as eye pain, coughing or a sore throat, they should reduce physical exertion, especially outdoor activities. Patients with heart, respiratory and cardiovascular disease, children and the elderly should stay indoors and reduce physical exertion. If it is necessary to go outside, it is advisable to wear a protective mask, and people who have asthma may need to increase the frequency of their use of an inhaler.

Although winds carrying smog from China to Taiwan contribute to 30 percent of the nation's air pollution, the remaining 70 percent is from domestic sources such as factories, vehicles, and coal-burning power plants, according to the Taiwan Environmental Information Center.