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Comprehensive Air Pollution Control Scheme Launched to Cut PM2.5 to 8 µg/m3

Concerning the ongoing 14+N Air Pollution Control Plan, on 2 November 2017, EPA Minister Ying-Yuan Lee invited the Minister of Economic Affairs (MOEA), Jong-Chin Shen, and the Mayor of Taichung City, Chia-Lung Lin, to jointly survey the air pollution control and improvement progress of the Taipower coal-fired power plant in Taichung. Further measures, such as oil-burning boiler replacements, mobile pollution source reduction in the metropolitan Taichung area, smoke control equipment installation for night market food vendors, and establishment of a straw gasification power plant, are in place in order to minimize occurrence of poor air quality days in central Taiwan.

Minister Lee, Minister Shen, and Mayor Lin first looked through Taipower’s air pollution control
plans. The Taichung power plant has promised to upgrade pollution emission control facilities for
its existing generators, install new, more efficient natural gas-powered generators, and adopt the best available control technology (BACT). As a result, power generation went from roughly 138.1 billion kWh in 2016 to over 160 billion kWh, and overall air pollutant emissions from 99 thousand metric tonnes to 66 thousand metric tonnes, a 33% reduction rate. The goal is to steadily meet domestic energy needs while minimizing air pollutant emissions per unit of energy generated.

Regarding air quality improvement in central Taiwan, Minister Lee pointed out that conventional industrial and commercial boilers burn coal or heavy crude oil and play significant roles in affecting the air quality in central Taiwan. Currently, control measures as well as subsidies are used to encourage enterprises to switch to cleaner energy such as natural gas. Stricter national standards will be implemented in 2020, and on 20 June, Taichung City Government announced its own boiler air pollutant emission standards. The standards announced by the Taichung City Government mandate that newly installed boilers burn natural gas or run on electricity, and that existing ones switch energy sources within a year. The EPA also started to subsidize the replacement of commercial boilers in 2017, and thus far subsidy applications for five boilers in Taichung are being processed. In addition, since 2015, the Taichung City Government has received a total of
101 applications after it started providing subsidies from its own budget for boiler replacement. In the future, the Industrial Development Bureau (IDB) of the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) will follow suit.

The EPA’s analyses of pollution sources show that, aside from generators and industrial and commercial boilers, the local population, number of vehicles, and amount of oil pumped in gas stations have all been on the rise recently, hence driving up air pollution in Taichung. To combat air pollution caused by the increasing traffic, the city government has proposed the “Critical 8μg/m3 ” Green Traffic Plan. The plan covers four areas: promoting energy consumption patterns, improving transfer efficiency, establishing an environment for low-carbon transportation, and decreasing the use of private vehicles. Twelve projects are proposed, including the addition of electric buses in busy traffic corridors and discounts for transfer to greener transportation. The plan is to be carried out jointly by the central and city governments with a budget of NT$750 million (NT$500 million from the central government and NT$250 million from the city government). In addition, the EPA will keep focusing on policies for the replacement of old diesel vehicles, installation of soot filters, and tightening of gas/diesel-fueled vehicle emission standards so as to lower emissions from mobile sources.

Other than industrial and commercial activities or vehicle emissions, air pollution also comes from open-air burning of rice straw after harvest, which has always been a major problem in agricultural regions in central Taiwan. According to investigations by the Council of Agriculture (COA) and the EPA, open-air burning of straw was still practiced in about 5% of rice paddies in Taiwan in 2016.

To handle with this issue, the Taichung City Government will build a straw gasification power plant in Waipu Green Energy Ecopark in order to deal with agricultural wastes and promote incineration treatment. Combined with biomass energy development and an increasing green energy supply, the city government hopes this will help build a circular economy. The straw gasification power plant will have a capacity to treat 50,000 metric tonnes of straw annually and be able to generate 24.9 million kWh of energy, while cutting 320 metric tonnes of fine particulate matter and 13,147 metric tonnes of carbon emissions. The plant therefore will greatly benefit the air quality every autumn and winter.

In addition, grilling and frying in night markets generate smoke and unpleasant odors often that give rise to complaints from surrounding neighborhoods. As central Taiwan’s dry weather during autumn and winter does not help disperse air pollutants, the EPA is encouraging night market vendors to install the smoke-control equipment best suited to control the pollutants they emit, such as odor-removing ozone air purifiers or electrostatic air filters.

The EPA has joined forces with units in the central government and regional governments to improve air quality in industrial, commercial, and agricultural areas as well as in people’s daily lives. Through improving air pollution, the EPA expects to safeguard the public’s right to fresh air and to live free from the dangers of PM2.5.

  • Source:Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)
  • Date:2017/12/12
  • Updated:2017/12/12
  • Hit:626