Kaohsiung keeps status as Taiwanese city with worst air pollution

Only 4 areas of Taiwan have clean air according to US standards

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Air pollution in Kaohsiung. 

Air pollution in Kaohsiung.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Kaohsiung has had the worst air pollution of all the cities and counties in Taiwan for three years running, according to a survey published by an environmentalist action group Thursday (Jan. 2).

The southern industrial port city recorded an average PM2.5 value of 26.1 micrograms per cubic meter of air in 2019, said Air Clean Taiwan (ACT, 台灣空氣健康行動聯盟).

The activists called on the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) to follow the example of the United States and set the threshold for clean air at a maximum of 12 micrograms per cubic meter, down from the 15.4 still in force now, UDN reported.

If the new standard were applied, only the counties of Yilan and Taitung, Yangmingshan National Park in Taipei City, and the Hengchun Peninsula in Pingtung County would be considered to have clean air.

The four areas with the most severe PM2.5 air pollution were all located in the south last year, with Kaohsiung taking the lead, followed by Pingtung County, Chiayi City, and Tainan City, with the offshore island of Kinmen rounding out the top five with a value of 23.7.

The latest edition of the survey, which has been conducted for the past nine years, relied on data provided by 76 measuring stations nationwide, ACT said. The national average for Taiwan stood at 19.8 micrograms in 2019.

The presence of the petrochemical industry, steel plants, and a coal-fired power station all contributed to Kaohsiung’s place at the top of the pollution list for three years running, according to ACT.