The 2022 air quality monitoring data compiled by the EPA shows a downward trend of concentrations of all air pollutants for the fifth consecutive year. The average number of days with Air Quality Index (AQI) of 100 or less, meaning in the categories of Good and Moderate AQI, exceeded 93.9% in 2022 (see chart), the best recorded so far. At the same time, the number of days with AQI above 100 (Unhealthy categories) continued to drop.
Other than continual drop of the average ozone concentration, the number of station-days with unhealthy AQI has been lowering year after year. In 2022, station days with unhealthy AOI mostly occurred in September mainly because of transboundary ozone from outside of Taiwan. And from January to November 2022, the national PM2.5 concentration was 12.5 μg/m3 on average. It is estimated that the average annual concentration will be lower than 13 μg/m3 for the first time, and it will also be the third consecutive year for it to reach the ultimate goal of an average annual concentration of 15 μg/m3, as set by the Executive Yuan-approved Air Pollution Control Plan (2020 to 2023).
The EPA pointed out that 2022 had the best result of air quality improvement in recent years due to having had more rainy days than previous years, as rainwater is effective at pollutant removal. Not only so, both the central and local governments’ active implementation of the Air Pollution Control Plan (2020 to 2023) has also led to reduced concentrations of transboundary pollutants. Since 2016, air pollution has dropped by 30%, in which state-run enterprises have slashed 46% of their own air pollution, the percentage of gas-burning boilers has increased from 24% to 73% thanks to promotion for highly polluting boilers to switch to natural gas, and the efforts to phase out old vehicles. In 2022, more than 9,000 large, old diesel vehicles had been phased out, resulting in 40% of such vehicles phased out since 2017. Moreover, starting 2020, a total of 1.685 million old motorcycles have been phased out, accounting for 35% reduction of old motorcycles from the road.
Regarding sources of fugitive pollution, airborne dust in Zhuoshui River has been reduced by over 90%, with dust incidents occurring only twice in 2022. Additionally, the EPA has enhanced overall controls and reviewed 111 sets of regulations since the announcement of the revised Air Pollution Control Act (空氣污染防制法) on 1 August 2018. In 2022, efforts continued in legislative amendments to strengthen response measures targeting seasonal air pollution, tighten emission standards for tape, cement, and other industries, and adjust the system of regular inspections. The EPA’s other means to lower emissions of air pollution include providing access for developers to trade and offset emission credits, extending the period of subsidization, and applying high technology to law enforcement. All this is carried out in hopes of creating a win-win situation for both the economy and the environment, safeguarding air quality, and protecting public health.
Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, December 2022
- Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)