South-Central Taiwan Joint Inspections with UAVs to Stamp Out Open-Air Burning


In response to the poor air quality in southern and central Taiwan during fall and winter, the EPA conducted joint inspections with 10 city/county environmental protection bureaus from 9-11 November 2020, carrying out a total of 213 inspections. The joint inspections focused on PM2.5 levels, which is the indicator pollutant for recent pollution, and targeted locations that are prone to fugitive dust pollution. The inspections were performed at 25 construction sites and 59 open-air burning hotspots. A total of 14 violations were detected during the inspections with an estimated fine of more than NT$420,000.

In addition to poor dispersion of pollutants caused by the northeast monsoon and topographic conditions, open-air burning in rice fields during the harvest season in the south-central regions can further exacerbate the air quality. Therefore, the EPA planned the joint inspections accordingly and carried out a total of 60 inspections with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to enhance the inspection effectiveness.

During the three days of inspections, Nantou County focused on constructions such as dredging and regional development activities, while Kaohsiung City conducted inspections on open-air burning activities and construction sites and surveyed the exposed riverbeds in the city. Tainan City inspected the construction sites within the Sinji Industrial Park and found several violations, including uncleaned vehicles, loosened dust covers, and fences that did not enclose the entire construction site. Yunlin County discovered that a tofu skin manufacturing plant had been operating without a permit and piling waste outdoors. Pingtung County inspected 10 open-air burning hotspots with UAVs and detected six violations. Chiayi County, Tainan City, Taichung City, Miaoli County, Yunlin County, Changhua County and the EPAs Bureau of Environmental Inspection also worked together to complete related inspections.

The EPA stated that 12 open-air burning incidents were detected during the joint inspections, indicating that some citizens still resort to this bad habit to get rid of waste. Since it is currently poor air quality season, the EPA is reminding citizens to avoid outdoor burning. The EPA is also urging industrial parks and factories to implement air pollution control measures in accordance with regulations to prevent further worsening of air quality and safeguard public health.

Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, Dec 2020
Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)
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