The EPA announced the amendments to the Air Quality Standards (空氣品質標準) which were made based on the current air quality levels in Taiwan and the improvement plans of the government. Risks to human health and the standard-setting trends of advanced countries were also taken into consideration. The amendments eliminated the standard for total suspended particulates (TSP) and revised the standards for PM10, sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and lead. Stipulations on determining whether the eight-hour average concentration standard for ozone (O3) is met were also added.
The EPA explained that, according to the suggestions of the World Health Organization (WHO), national air quality standards should be set based on factors such as the human health risks of local air quality, status of pollution sources, technological feasibility, and social and economic developments. Therefore, the EPA has revised the Standards in line with the suggestions of the WHO as well as in line with the global trends in air quality control and similar regulations in Japan and Korea.
Taking air quality standards of other countries as references, the amendments lowered the daily average PM10 limit from 125 µg/m3 to 100 µg/m3 and reduced the annual average limit from 65 µg/m3 to 50 µg/m3. For SO2, the maximum one-hour average concentration was lowered from 250 ppb to 75 ppb and the maximum annual average concentration from 30 ppb to 20 ppb. For NO2, the maximum one-hour average concentration was lowered from 250 ppb to 100 ppb and the maximum annual average from 50 ppb to 30 ppb. And for lead, the air quality standard was set at 0.15 µg/m3 as a rolling three-month average. Moreover, the EU’s eight-hour concentration standard for ozone is 120 µg/m3 (equivalent to 61 ppb), which is roughly the same as Taiwan’s 60 ppb. Therefore, the amendments adopted the EU’s determination method on ozone standard compliance, and stipulated that “within a specific region, the highest daily eight-hour average ozone concentrations recorded by each regular air quality monitoring station are arranged in order from the lowest to the highest; the value corresponding to the 93rd cumulative percentage is to be used to calculate the average over three consecutive years”. This will be the way used to determine whether the 8-hour concentrations of ozone meet the standard in Taiwan.
The EPA stressed that it will continue to take opinions from all circles, observe the WHO suggestions, and refer to local and international research results and control trends in reviewing the Air Quality Standards, which must be reviewed at least once every four years in accordance with the Air Pollution Control Act (空氣污染防制法).
Excerpt from Environmental Policy Monthly, 23 (10)
- Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)