Kaohsiung City most plagued by fine particulate matter: alliance

The China Post news staff

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Kaohsiung City in southern Taiwan has the highest concentration of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) of Taiwan’s six municipalities, the Taiwan Healthy Air Action Alliance said yesterday.

Yeh Kuang-fan, convener of the alliance, said at a press conference that Tainan City came second in terms of PM2.5 density, followed by Taichung City, Taipei City, Taoyuan County, and New Taipei City, in declining order. Among cities and counties other than the six municipalities, Chiayi City suffered the most serious concentration of PM2.5, followed by Pingtung County and Yunlin County.

PM2.5, which refers to particulates that are less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter, is a product of combustion, with sources including power plants, vehicles, wood burning stoves and wild fires.

Yeh called for the Department of Environmental Monitoring and Information Management to release what it considers the accurate PM2.5 data recorded by Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) eight monitoring stations, instead of publishing data that the environmental alliance claims is generally 30-percent lower than the actual PM2.5 concentration, in order for local people to take protective measures against the air pollution.

In addition, Lawmaker Tien Chiu-chin, of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party, said the EPA should publish the air pollution data in real-time so that people can determine whether to carry protective equipment when going outdoors.

Lu Li, a physician at the National Taiwan University, said once PM2.5 is inhaled it moves via the bloodstream into the lungs, which is especially dangerous for babies and those suffering asthma.