Having just made a quick trip to Kaoshiung and back in Taichung I am as usual appalled at the poor air quality in large parts of the island, especially in the Winter months.
The Taiwan EPA have finally caught up with the rest of the world after many delay tactics and are now providing real-time PM 2.5 particulate levels. PM 2.5 are the real nasty fine particles that gets into your lungs and possibly into your blood stream. The particles are formed from motor vehicle exhaust (particularly scooters), power plant emissions, chemical refineries etc. NOx and SOx react with sunlight and water vapour and form these fine particles which result in the characteristic haze we see around us.
Looking at US PM2.5 standards anything beyond 35 Ug/M3 daily average on the scale is unacceptable. Also they have now revised the annual average to 12 Ug/M3.
99% of counties in the vast and diverse land mass of US are in compliance with these standards year round. power-eng.com/articles/2012/ ... m-2-5.html
EDIT- actually parts of the US do exceed standards, with orange here indicating about 40-70 Ug/M3 and yellow being up to 40 Ug/M3, usually from forest fires or windy conditions.
alg.umbc.edu/usaq/images/anim_aq ... 130118.gif
Remember also there are still people in the US who say these standards are still not strict enough.
Now let's look at Taiwan's readings and classification of air pollution from the EPA website.
They mainly use a PSI system which incorporates multiple sizes of particles instead of using PM2.5 as their main classification system which would show large parts of the country as 'unhealthy'.
So they classify 0-50 Ug/M3 as 'good'. They classify 50-100 Ug/M3 as 'moderate'. They classify 100-200 as 'unhealthy' and 200-300 as 'very unhealthy''. Today they have almost everywhere as 'moderate' whatever that means, conveniently burying the 'unhealthy' reading if using PM2.5 directly.
Look at the reading today, almost the whole island is classified as 'moderate' with readings around 50-100 PSI. However if we check the PM2.5 figures many metropolitan areas are over the 35 Ug/M3 daily limit such as Hsinchu, Taizhong, Kaohsiung, Changhua, Kinmen, and Toufen. Some more industrial areas are almost twice the recommended limit such as Shalu and Cianzhen and Kinmen (due to mainland pollution).
The government are finally giving us the air pollution figures, which do not make for good reading, but they are blatantly lying with the use of their own made-up classifications.
Yes, I know its better than mainland China, but the air here is still very unhealthy as recognized by medical professionals. I can't see when things will get better as they are still approving refineries and new chemical plants and have added coal power plants on the West coast. Of course the pollution from China exacerbates the local problem.
This, my friends, along with water and land pollution, are the real environmental problems of Taiwan right in front of our faces and in our lungs. This a problem for me and my family to remain in Taiwan. I have to ask myself the question, why should we stay here?