Taiwan will feel the impact of air pollution from China starting Tuesday due to increasing seasonal winds, which have contributed to a large portion of Taiwan’s air pollution in recent years, a local weather company said Monday.
The degree of pollution could be at its worst on Wednesday, said Peng Chi-ming (彭啟明), CEO and founder of WeatherRisk Explore Inc., the first private weather company in Taiwan.
Similar situations could be rather common in the coming few months because China often encounters high atmospheric pressure masses in winter that prevent air pollutants from dispersing, and the high concentration of pollutants is then blown by seasonal winds to Taiwan, he explained.
Among the pollutants swept to Taiwan’s shores, especially hazardous fine particulate matter smaller than 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5) could be more concentrated in southern Taiwan than in the north as little rain is anticipated there during winter, making it difficult to wash the particles away, Peng said.
Under the Environmental Protection Administration’s (EPA) index for PM2.5, no significant increases in PM2.5 concentrations are forecast for Taiwan on Tuesday but all areas except for eastern Taiwan could see a sharp rise on Wednesday.
Most areas on Taiwan proper will see maximum PM2.5 levels of between 5 and 7 — considered a medium to high range — while the Yunlin, Chiayi and Tainan areas in the southern part of Taiwan may experience PM2.5 levels as high as 9, the highest level in the high range.
Level-10 PM2.5 concentrations exceed 72 micrograms per cubic meter and are considered extremely high, but measurement above level 7 is deemed severe enough to cause tangible discomfort and health problems.
When Taiwan suffers poor air quality, the EPA usually advises elderly residents in affected areas and people with lung or heart problems, persistent coughs or discomfort around the eyes to avoid outdoor activities.People with asthma may also need to use their inhalers more often than normal while the pollution persists, it said.