Environmental resource surveying and monitoring is an important foundation for environmental policy implementation. In addition to meteorology, hydrology, geology and mineral resources, resource surveying also covers ecosystems and biological categories and groups. In the future, the surveying of these subjects will be incorporated along with the monitoring of air quality, rivers, groundwater, and marine water quality to build a comprehensive environmental resources monitoring system in Taiwan.
I. Expanding monitoring and information services
1. Strengthening air and water quality monitoring information services The EPA operates a total of 77 air quality monitoring stations, 31 manual PM2.5 monitoring stations, 13 photochemical pollution monitoring stations/vehicles, six PM2.5 chemical component monitoring stations, and 10 mobile monitoring stations/vehicles. The EPA also integrates and publicizes air quality monitoring data from monitoring stations of local environmental bureaus, state-run large-scale enterprises and special industrial parks. A new version of the Taiwan Air Quality Monitoring Network was launched in April 2020.
In addition, air quality indexes (AQI) for the following four days are forecast three times a day and an early warning mechanism for offshore pollutants (dust and smog from China) is implemented from November to May of the following year to remind the public to take precautions. Moreover, the EPA regularly monitors the water quality of rivers, reservoirs, tributaries of reservoirs, and groundwater throughout Taiwan as well as updates the water quality monitoring network to provide the public with visual-oriented and easily searchable water quality information services. All data is also put on the EPA’s Open Data Platform and Environmental Info Push App for value-added applications.
2. Expanding environmental information integration and disclosure services
(1) Integrating environmental resource information
The EPA is promoting the Environmental Resource Database Integration Plan by combining atmospheric, water, soil, forest, and ecological information, developing a diverse information service, and sharing environmental information across different fields through data exchange systems. The i-Environmental website has been set up to provide the public with a convenient way to access important local environmental information.
(2) Improving the Open Data platform for environmental information
In line with the Open Data policy, the EPA continuously updates information submitted by the listed pollution sources and their relevant penalties on the Listed Pollution Source Data Search System for public inquiry. A mobile version of the system has been launched online. Moreover, the Environmental Resources Open Data Platform (trial version) was also launched in April 2020.
(3) Improving the Environmental Info Push App To strengthen mobile environmental information services, the EPA launched the Environmental Info Push App which allows the public to browse realtime monitoring information, historical data, forecast data and so on. The app also provides air quality and many other warning notifications and environmental
facility inquiry functions, including “excessive ozone alert notification”, “motorcycle periodic inspection notification”, “motorcycle periodic inspection station inquiry”, “public restroom inquiry” and so on.
II. Promoting the establishment and application of Internet of Things (IoT)
1. Setting up the environmental quality sensing IoT The EPA has been setting up an environmental quality sensing IoT in Taiwan and building a smart operation system for a new generation of environmental law enforcement. The EPA set up air sensors across Taiwan and established a platform for sensor testing and certification as well as a smart environmental
sensing data center. The goal is to achieve the vision of optimizing environmental protection via IoT. By the end of 2019, air pollution sensors had been installed in 7,000 spots to cover approximately 55 industrial or science parks and monitor the air quality of the environs of over 50,000 factories. The collected higher solution sensor information can be used to pinpoint pollution hotspots and time periods after conducting big data analysis.
2. Establishing an environmental monitoring data
platform and promoting its use in law enforcement The EPA has completed the infrastructure for the Environmental Monitoring Data Center, which compiles sensor data, collects real-time air quality monitoring data of all levels, and simultaneously connects with Taiwan’s high-speed internet and computing centers providing innovative value-added applications.
Future planning and objectives
(1) Short-term: Collecting and integrating surveying information, taking inventory of existing surveying and monitoring systems and fixing important deficiencies to build an integrated environmental resource database.
(2) Mid-term: Continuing to improve the system design, promoting integrated environmental
resource monitoring and surveying system, disclosing information and applying big-data analysis technologies, developing environmental service information tools, issuing effective warnings, and promoting applications by external organizations and institutions.
(3) Long-term: Ensuring effective operation of the information management process, continuing to develop the environmental monitoring and surveying system, collaborating with cross-organizational institutions to share data, and reflecting the overall environmental conditions, trends, and improvement results to provide references for future policy formulation.
In conclusion, the promotion of environmental monitoring and resource surveying requires systematic planning. In addition to meteorology, hydrology, geology and mineral resources, resource surveying also covers ecosystems and biological categories and groups. In the future, the surveying of these subjects will be incorporated along with the monitoring
of air quality, rivers, groundwater, and marine water quality to build an integrated environmental resources monitoring system in Taiwan.
Excerpt from Environmental Policy Monthly, 23 (4)
- Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)