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Southern and central Taiwan slammed with unhealthy air quality

Air quality expected to improve by weekend

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Kaohsiung's Qiaotou district just before 7 a.m. this morning. (EPA photo) 

Kaohsiung's Qiaotou district just before 7 a.m. this morning. (EPA photo) 

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) has set a “red light” air quality warning for some areas in south-central Taiwan, indicating “unhealthy” air quality.

The EPA said today (March 1) that the unhealthy air conditions observed in Yunlin, Chiayi, Qiaotou, and Tainan areas may cause members of the general public to experience adverse health effects, while those with existing health conditions may experience serious effects. In the areas of Kaohsiung, Pingtung, Datong, and Sanchong, only those with existing health conditions are likely to experience adverse effects.

The EPA further recommended that those in the affected areas avoid outdoor activities if possible.

The Director-General of the Central Weather Bureau Cheng Ming-dean (鄭明典) said the air pollution originated from outside of Taiwan, and that the relatively light winds in the area are preventing the polluted air from dispersing. He also said that a meteorological phenomenon known as temperature inversion, where warmer air floats above colder air, is causing the polluted air to be trapped in the affected areas.

While Cheng said more polluted air is expected tonight, the general forecast for the whole of Taiwan’s air quality is forecasted to improve over the next three days. By Saturday (March 4), the EPA forecasts all areas in Taiwan will experience either moderate or healthy air quality.