Taipei, -Pingtung and Kaohsiung were ranked as having the worst air quality of all cities and counties in Taiwan in 2018, where both broke ground-level ozone standards for over 100 days last year, according a report released Monday by a local environmental group.
Based on readings compiled from air quality monitoring stations across Taiwan, Pingtung County alone experienced 144.5 days where the 8-hour ozone (O3) standard exceeded 61 parts per billion (ppb) last year, followed by Kaohsiung with 107.9 days, Nantou County with 94.7 days, Yunlin County with 89.3 days and Chiayi County with 87 days, the Air Clean Taiwan (ACT) said.
Taiwan's Air Quality Index (AQI) standards are currently too lax, ACT Director Yeh Guang-peng (???) said.
He said that in Taiwan, ozone levels are considered to exceed the standard when they are measured at 120 ppb or higher under the one-hour standard and at 60 ppb or higher under the eight-hour standard, while in the United States, ozone levels are considered to exceed the standard when measured at 70 ppb under the eight-hour standard.
If measured using the American standard, ozone levels in every city and county in Taiwan would be considered to exceed the standard, except for Taitung County, he said.
According to the report, the monitoring stations in Pingtung's Chaozhou and Kaohsiung's Linyuan also recorded the highest 1-hour ozone standard last year, at 120 ppb and 117 ppb, respectively.
They were followed by Puli in Nantou County, at 113 ppb, New Taipei's Xindian District at 112 ppb, and Taipei's Guting, at 109 ppb.
In order to improve air quality and reduce ozone pollutants in southern Taiwan, Yeh said the government must not renew the permit for Kaohsiung's coal-fired Hsinta Power Station, which is run by Taiwan Power Company (Taipower).
Taipower spokesman Hsu Tsao-hua (???), however, said that ozone is produced in the troposphere as a result of a complex set of reactions that involve volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx), and that blaming Hsinta as the sole cause of pollutants in southern Taiwan is unfair.
Air pollutants can come from cars and motorcycles, as well as factories, he said, adding that Taipower will always strive to balance providing a stable power supply and protecting the environment.
According to the state-run firm, it is currently seeking to renew its permit for the plant's No. 3 and No. 4 generators issued by the Kaohsiung City government.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel