Air quality in southern Taiwan reached hazardous levels on Saturday, with the key indicator of fine particulate matter smaller than 2.5 micrometers (PM 2.5) hitting the highest level of 10 in Kaohsiung, Pingtung and Tainan, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said.
The poor air quality was caused by a lack of wind to disperse atmospheric pollutants, the EPA said, urging residents in southern Taiwan who are sensitive to bad air to avoid outdoor activities.
As of 1 p.m., concentrations of PM2.5 reached level 10 in Pingtung City, Pingtung County’s Chaozhou Township, Kaohsiung’s Fengshan and Renwu Districts and Tainan’s Shanhua and Xinying Districts, according to readings from EPA stations in those areas.
The 1-10 PM2.5 index also hit level 9 in Kaohsiung’s Daliao District, and level 8 in Tainan City, Chiayi City and Chiayi County’s Puzi, according to the readings.
According to the EPA, level-10 PM2.5 concentrations exceed 71 micrograms per cubic meter and are considered extremely high, but measurements above level 7 are deemed severe enough to cause tangible discomfort and health problems.
Given the air quality, the elderly and those with chronic lung or heart diseases should avoid prolonged or strenuous outdoor physical activities. People with asthma may also need to use their inhalers more often, the EPA said.