TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Clouds of thick smog are again lingering heavy over some of Taiwan’s southern cities.
Residents of Kaohsiung, Tainan and surrounding city and prefecture areas are reporting bad air quality due to another bout of pollution—a problem that has already arisen on the island’s southwest coast several times this winter.
CNA reports poor diffusion conditions including slow wind speeds cause the smog to stick around. Since this morning, a total of 18 monitoring stations have continued to flash red warnings, indicating “unhealthy” air quality.
Taiwan’s Air Quality Index (AQI) monitoring network measures the amount of suspended particles, including PM2.5, and harmful gases in the air per cubic meter. It then assigns each station around the country a rating from “good” to “hazardous.”
Stations flashing red (“unhealthy” air) mean all people within the area may begin to experience health effects, which can be more serious for sensitive groups.
Kaohsiung’s Qiaotou District (橋頭區) monitoring station is reporting the highest AQI value at 166 as of 12:00 p.m. today. The area regularly ranks as the worst hit part of Taiwan in terms of air pollution.
In addition to the mainland, residents of Kinmen Island are also currently experiencing “unhealthy” air.
Combating air pollution was one of the key promises in Kaohsiung mayor Han Kuo-yu’s (韓國瑜) election campaign last year. Environmental conservation groups are reprimanding the mayor for still failing to deliver a viable solution to the problem.
Anti-pollution protests took place in central and southern Taiwan throughout last year.
Taiwan's AQI shows Qiaotou District in Kaohsiung has been worst hit (Taiwan EPA)