Air pollution levels in Taiwan - grim reading


#161

I just finished a report about that topic. What I understand is…

The PSI (Pollution Standard Index) was created in the 1970s. It was an daily index based on different pollutants, but not PM2.5.
wiki > The Pollutant Standards Index, or PSI, is a type of air quality index, which is a number used to provide the public with an easily understandable indicator of how polluted the air is. Initially PSI was based on five air pollutants, …

In 2014, the PSI was revised and named AQI (Air Quality Index) now including PM2.5 pollution.
wiki > … since 1 April 2014 it has also included fine particulate matter (PM2.5).

Recently -no specific date found- technology has been developed to read and publish Real Time Air Quality Index (RTAQI)
Some websites for reference : aqicn.org/here/

All indexes are true, and use the same raw data, but…

The old PSI (still used by Taiwan EPA) is an index calculated during the last 24 hours! and does not include PM2.5 (proven to be dangerous to health)
Many governments, especially South East Asia, use daily average numbers and indexes to lower the numbers and not scare the people.
Governments also used different standards to define healthy, moderate and unhealthy… the same tune, to pretend everything it’s ok.

As I was writing the report, I displayed the situation in my city and compared the different standards…
The Taiwan EPA PSI was 82… yellow color… moderate
The hourly PM2.5 index was 7… red color… high
The Real Time AQICN was 134… orange color… unhealthy for sensitive groups

Different indexes, different standards, different recommendations,… Who knows?

Conclusion: just trust the real time raw data provided by AQICN and WAQI.


#162

Good summary, I also believe governments are deliberately using their preferred incdices and averages to make themselves look better. The EPA is tasked with reducing pollution of various sources annually , they often try to bury stats that indicate things could be getting worse.

The number I always use in my head is 35 ug/m3 (35 ppm) for pM2.5 raw concentration data.
35 is the level set in the EU that governments are mandated to keep below has been proven to have unhealthy effects.
They also play games somewhat in that the mandate is the average figure for the entire year!

But actually there is plenty of evidence that even at 15-20 ug/m3 pM2.5 has deleterious health effects.

So the numbers such as in China of 300 or 500 etc are simply terrible for health.

What’s really biologically important is the individuals exposure to pollution and their accumulated load, not some
Average number spread out over an entire nation or specific monitoring stations. Scientists know this but politicians don’t want to deal with the furore of revealing the real concentrations people are exposed to as they ride their scooters to work or walk along the sidewalk in the city center or live over the highway. Mobile individual pollution monitoring equipment ,
Once it becomes cheap enough, could be a real game changer!


#163

A few months ago I thought I had whooping cough. I’d have these coughing fits and then trouble breathing… difficulty inhaling for a minute. Went to the doctor who gave me medicine, several times, it helped but I was on it for like 2 months. Told him about my coughing fits and he asked me if I ever had had asthma. I was like, damn, I’ve never had any of these symptoms in my life, have very healthy lungs, and with 8 years in Taiwan with no problems until now… so strange. Anyway, we go to Kaohsiung every 2 weeks to ‘the in laws’, in Sanmin district, and the air is much fresher in Kaohsiung IMO. I always heard Kaohsiung is supposed to be worse, but it’s the other way around really. All I’m saying is the air quality here is shite :2cents: :thumbsdown:


#164

Pretty apocalyptic across much of Taiwan today, started to smell it last night in Taipei when the window was open. Visited the north coast and shocked to see the murk extend almost down to cape bitou. First time I’ve ever seen such a thick soupy smog envelop the North in 15 years. Fortunately just down to the cape and beyond was crystal clear, went swimming on Jinsha beach, it literally felt like DRIVING to a different country in one hour!

The worst bit is having to go back to Taipei again.


#165

Yup today the air was pretty barfy here in Taipei. I was on the elevated platform at Technology Building Station around noon and I could barely see NTU down the street!

Guy


#166

Yeah, can any of our weather-specialists explain this? Thursday was gorgeous clear blue skies, as was Friday morning; things started to get a bit hazy Friday evening, and then Saturday … ugh. About as bad as I’ve ever seen it in Danshui. I got up early this morning, intending to go for a bike ride, and then looked out the window - nope. Not doing that.


#167

I’m guessing a perfect storm of north westerly winds from China along with the locally produced crap sticking around from the high pressure. Indeed after checking we have NNW winds so we can thank our friendly mainland neighbor for its generosity in sharing the fruits of 5000 years of civilization.

But this all got me thinking, at least I could escape the pollution today , I checked the map, saw the NE was pretty
Decent air quality wise, headed over in the car in an hour (yes polluting car).
Saw the tunnel was a little backed up and took the 62 to the coast instead. We were
Swimming in the crystal clear Pacific Ocean and inhaling clean air in an hour.
So we’ve got that to be thankful for. We can escape …sometimes. Even if you didn’t have a car yoU could get a bus or train out to Ilan without too much hassle.

This afternoon!


#168

Lovely photo! Sounds like you had a pretty nice Saturday.

Guy


#169

Yes, we did thanks, and interestingly there were a bunch of mostly foreign families on the beach in Jinsha having a great day out. There are signs at the beach…no swimming, no fishing etc…and there was plenty of swimming and fishing to be had…sometimes in the same location…lol! We also hiked around Bitoushan and Longdong area. Plenty of divers out today too.

Water was crystal clear with perfect waves and the sky was a lovely blue. Would NEVER have imagined it from looking around in Taipei this morning. So that’s why I posted that picture, when in doubt, head East!

Just 10 minutes drive up North from where that picture was taken and just a couple of hours later, the pollution had stretched down a bit, and it did look a bit end of the worldish. It was shocking driving back into it quite frankly.
I was kicking myself for not driving the other way and just staying in Ilan for the night, but it was too late to turn back.


#170

[quote=“headhonchoII”]I’m guessing a perfect storm of north westerly winds from China along with the locally produced crap sticking around from the high pressure. Indeed after checking we have NNW winds so we can thank our friendly mainland neighbor for its generosity in sharing the fruits of 5000 years of civilization.

But this all got me thinking, at least I could escape the pollution today , I checked the map, saw the NE was pretty
Decent air quality wise, headed over in the car in an hour (yes polluting car).
Saw the tunnel was a little backed up and took the 62 to the coast instead. We were
Swimming in the crystal clear Pacific Ocean and inhaling clean air in an hour.
So we’ve got that to be thankful for. We can escape …sometimes. Even if you didn’t have a car yoU could get a bus or train out to Ilan without too much hassle.

This afternoon!
[/quote]
Wow :thumbsup:


#171

I got more pics where that came from, wanna see 'em. You’ve been warned. Haha.

Here’s some air pollution figures from today. It helps to see the bigger picture to appreciate how lucky we are to have an escape route (at times) from the mostly Northwesterly Winter China haze (we can see below that the pollution is highest in Taipei and Taichung and roughly half in Miaoli…fair amount of domestic pollution in there I would say…vehicle pollution getting trapped locally?). I chopped them off but Hengchun and Taidong were good options for the South. Taichung…you’re screwed, as even Puli in the heart of beautiful Nantou is often terribly polluted now.

Taiwan Nov 7th

Regional Nov 7th


#172

Here is an awesome animation which I believe shows the major source of our weekend air pollution, gobi desert sandstorms blown east to polluted shitstacks of China, soot sticks to dust particles and and noxious gases such as NOx and SOx further turn into a particle soup, than the mix or large and tiny particles is carried on the wind down to us to join the pollution party that we already have going on in Taipei, Taichung etc!

earth.nullschool.net/#current/pa … 27.79,1715


#173

Can someone please explain why Xindian has higher levels of pollution than say, Datong district in Taipei? We have the mountains, for Pete’s sake!

Oh, and is there an app for this kind of thing, air pollution warning?


#174

Google has some kind of automated air pollution warnings app, Google cards maybe? I haven’t used it yet.


#175

[quote=“Icon”]Can someone please explain why Xindian has higher levels of pollution than say, Datong district in Taipei? We have the mountains, for Pete’s sake!

Oh, and is there an app for this kind of thing, air pollution warning?[/quote]

The website works fine on a mobile browser


#176

Icon it’s called Google Now you can set it up to give warnings. Probably some local apps like this also.


#177

Roger that HH.

Kelake, I just wanted something without having to open the browser, but button like.

EDIT:
Everything was peachy until I hit something in Simplified Chinese during customization. Will try again… maybe later.


#178

For your information

Here is a list of indoor plants that can clean up the air a little… still better than to create more pollution by using an electric air cleaner or a new AC!

english names
aloe vera
lavender
jasmine
english ivy
snake plant
Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
Gerber daisy (Gerbera jamesonii)
Snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Laurentii’)
Golden pothos (Scindapsus aures)
Chrysanthemum (Chrysantheium morifolium)
Red-edged dracaena (Dracaena marginata)
Weeping fig (Ficus benjamina)
Azalea (Rhododendron simsii)
English ivy (Hedera helix)
Warneck dracaena (Dracaena deremensis ‘Warneckii’)
Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema Crispum ‘Deborah’)
Bamboo palm (Chamaedorea sefritzii)
Heart leaf philodendron (Philodendron oxycardium)
Peace lily (Spathiphyllum)


#179

Yesterday was absolutely beautiful in Yilan. Then we arrived in Taipei and the haze was unbelievable.


#180

It was because of the way the wind was blowing from China. At the northeast tip of Taiwan it was curving back upwards from the influence of another pressure front to the SE of Taiwan (unfortunately I didn’t take a screenshot to show that, it was really obvious).

Now if you look the wind is also blowing vertically down the east coast as well as the west, so as expected the quality of air in Ilan today isn’t so different than Taipei. Obviously Taipei should be more polluted due to the additive effects of locally produced pollution.

Thankfully numbers are half what they were yesterday.

Taichung…it’s the same ole story for those folks unfortunately.