Northeasterly winds to bring waves of pollutants to Taiwan

2017/10/29 19:37:48 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
CNA file photo

CNA file photo

Taipei, Oct. 29 (CNA) A new wave of air pollutants could hit Taiwan Monday, as a high density of PM2.5 of over 150 micrograms per cubic meter was detected in China's Shanghai area Sunday afternoon, an environmental official said that day.

Chang Shun-chin (張順欽), director of the Environmental Protection Administration's (EPA's) Department of Environmental Monitoring and Information Management, said that the seasonal northeasterly winds could bring PM2.5 levels of 70-90 mg/m3 over Taiwan, which usually suffers from bad air quality caused by foreign sources from October to April of the following year.

Chang said that the upcoming wave of dirty air will not last long, beginning at around 3 a.m. Monday with a PM2.5 concentration of 70-90 mg/m3. He predicted that the fine particulate matter concentration will decline in northern Taiwan in the afternoon, but will rise in central and southern Taiwan because of a lack of conditions for air dispersal.

Air quality in central and southern Taiwan will also get worse because locally produced air pollutants will keep accumulating in central and southern parts of the island, he added.

In a separate report, the EPA's data shows that as of 5 p.m. Sunday, the air quality index (AQI) in Heping, Hualien County, had reached a hazardous level of PM10 at an average of 530 mg/m3 or 291 mg/m3 per hour. Meanwhile, the AQI in Mailiao and Lunbei of Yunlin County also flashed a "very unhealthy" purple.

Chang noted that Hualien's poor air was due mainly to dust blown from dry river beds, which could last until Oct. 31 as the current cold air mass is approaching at high speed. He did not give an explanation for Mailiao and Lunbei's health-threatening AQI, but locals usually attribute it to coal-fired power plants and petrochemical manufacturing plants in the area.

(By Wu Hsin-yun and S.C. Chang)

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