Taipei air pollution

Loving the weather but hating the air pollution .

Question for people who’ve been around 10+ years or 5+ years.

Do you guys remember the air pollution being this bad years ago in Taipei?
I don’t remember so many hazy days. I had a gap where I didn’t live in Taipei for a few years and to me it seems worse since I moved back.

I’m wondering has it been getting worse or am I paying more attention to the issue these days?

Anybody got any figures?

The government pulished some numbers recently said PM2.5 levels across the whole island have got slightly worse over the last 3 years, but I’d like to see some numbers for Taipei specifically.

Good post and good questions, but perhaps it simply belongs here:


Ah yes but it’s a very specific question I want answered…especially the subjective experience.

Subjectively, I remember Taipei air pollution being much worse in the mid 1980s. Thick brown haze almost every day. So I think it was worse around 30 years ago.

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If it’s as bad as 30 years ago we might as well just all kill ourselves.

It seems like it has gotten slightly better these three years, though not much.

I actually think it’s been pretty ok since summer this year. Over the last few months I only remember maybe 3-5 days where the pollution is bad in Taipei, yesterday (well it’s passed 12 now) was one of them. Taichung is fucking pathetic though.

And while I’m not trying to downplay the domestic nasty shit, China is a major contributor…Kinmen and Matsu have 0 industry yet their air quality is amongst the worst out of all the counties.

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Interesting stats.
I’m quite suspicious of these stats because they ALL show a slightly decreasing trend or at worse equal, especially when I know that air pollution has been getting worse in places like Nantou.
How likely is it statistically that none of them showed a slight increase over the previous year? Even just by natural fluctuation in weather patterns that should occur.

It’s only the stats of these three years, and I think the air quality in like Nantou, Taichung, Changhwa etc. has been really poor for way longer than that.

I understand that. Over the last five years or ten years things have gotten worse for sure in central Taiwan. I know, I was living in central Taiwan for years.
What I was more surprised was to notice fairly severe air pollution in Taipei too when moved back.

Last three years, it’s a toss up but for ALL numbers to be equal or better over a given short period of time is very unlikely (the EPA has a mandate to show and report improvement year on year…).

Stats can be gamed by choosing which periods of time to measure. Also these stats are from their ‘manual’ measurement stations which invokes some ‘adjustments’ prior to releasing the figures (as explained on their website difference between automated and manual measurements).

Anyway…anybody else been away and noticed better or worse?

I think only in 2015 was the situation better, and maybe that’s because of the weather? Like it rained more last year? 2013 and 2014 are basically identical.

I don’t pay that much attention to it. I just feel that it’s mostly ok in Taipei and really bad in Taichung.

I know yesterday it was bad enough that the school I work at had the kid move indoors for soccer.

Yesterday was up to 160 on the AQI it was as bad as I’ve seen it in Taipei. I have had the air purifier on for days. It was even worse down South.

Summer’s almost always a lot better in Taipei - I guess it’s related to winds from the south rather than the north. The serious pollution in Taipei starts to kick in around this time of year, continuing until April or so.

Last year Taipei’s pollution seemed especially bad to me, but the big caveat is that it was the first winter I’d added an AQI index app to my phone, so I always knew what the pollution count was. So maybe it wasn’t actually worse - I was just more aware of it.

Perhaps somewhere in the thread linked to below there’s a numerical record of changes over the years, but at the moment I can’t find one.

EDIT: Looking back at another thread, I see that I used to have the sense that winter was bad but not awful - the only awful times were the spring dust storms. But last winter, if I recall correctly, situation was so bad through the winter that the dust storms didn’t really make much of a difference.

While air quality in Taipei is far from ideal, it is not the worse in Taiwan. If you go down to Kaohsiung you will quickly feel the difference. PM2.5 index regularly goes above 150 there.

Regarding Taiwan EPA, their real-time monitoring information is greatly misleading. They use their own optimistic indices, engineered to paint a picture of “everything is fine here”. A great independent alternative for real-time air quality information is - Taiwan. Although they use the raw data provided by Taiwan EPA, their index adheres to internationally recognized standards. They have an Android app as well.

Here in Taichung City there are not many days a year with all-green clean air. On your average day, the AQI stands at 70~90 (unhealthy for sensitive people like me). Quite regularly we also get a bad day where AQI goes to ~150 (plain unhealthy). I have made a habit of always keeping the air purifier running when I am home, and wearing my Vogmask N99 mask outdoors.

aqicn doesn’t have separate measuring stations, they’re using EPA data, who as I just realized also offer mobile apps now:

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You should learn a little more about how the data is put together and sourced.

The difference between the EPA site and AQICN.ORG is they use different indices that’s all.

This is a truly independent data source, it doesn’t mean it’s more accurate though.

I have edited my previous post. Hopefully it is clearer now. I know well the source of the raw data is the same, but the way to present it certainly makes a difference when one is telling you “all fine” and the other one says “be careful”. Taiwan EPA seems interested in showing that pollution here is not as bad as it really is.

Does AIT tweet its own pollution readings like in Beijing etc.?

I do not think they’re in Twitter?
I hope to be proved wrong though. It would be super helpful.

Oh, I guess Twitter’s reserved for proper embassies then. Or the fake embassy uses a “retired” or “on leave” Twitter account. :rolling_eyes: