Taipei, April 13 (CNA) Premier Lin Chuan (林全) said Thursday that the government plans to spend NT$36.5 billion (US$1.2 billion) before the end of 2019 to reduce the level of fine particulate matter smaller than 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5) per cubic meter by 18.2 percent.
Lin said the objective is to cut the average concentration of PM2.5 from 22 micrograms per cubic meter today to 18 micrograms.
The premier made the remarks at a press conference to unveil the government's short and mid-term strategy on air-pollution prevention and control.
"I once traveled from Taoyuan to Pingtung and after observing the air was polluted for the entire journey it became clear that we urgently need to do something to address the problem," the premier said.
He pointed out that past efforts have failed to achieve the desired results because of the diverse sources of air pollution. As such, the current strategy seeks improvements through the adoption of a "carrot and stick" approach to several major areas.
The Cabinet plans to spend NT$36.5 billion, while state-owned Taiwan Power Company will spend NT$10.1 billion and the private sector NT$168.4 billion on the project by the end of 2019, with the goal of cutting average concentration of PM2.5 from 22 micrograms to 18, he said.
However, Lin also observed that pollutants from overseas are beyond Taiwan's control, with pollution from mainland China, Japan and South Korea also impacting Taiwan. To that end, he promised to consult with neighboring countries in a bid to reach consensus.
According to statistics provided by the Executive Yuan, PM2.5 originating outside Taiwan accounts for 34-40 percent of total pollutants, while domestic pollution makes up 60-66 percent.
Among the sources of domestic pollution, 30-37 percent comes from motor vehicles, while 27-30 percent is emitted by industry and 32-43 percent can be traced to other sources.
The Cabinet's strategy targets improvements in fixed and mobile pollution sources.
Addressing pollution from fixed equipment, the goal will be to upgrade power generation efficiency to cut the volume of pollutants released, with pollutants from boilers one area of focus.
The government will also encourage the phasing out of two-stroke motorcycles through subsidies to consumers and aims to phase out 1 million such vehicles by 2019.
(By Scarlett Chai and Lilian Wu)