The Regulations Governing Emergency Measures to Prevent Serious Worsening of Air Quality was revised and announced in 2017. In light of improved general air quality, the EPA has begun making amendments to further enhance the effectiveness of response measures. Considerations include the needs of local governments concerning the practices of upwind counties, whose cooperation is needed in order to ameliorate deteriorating air quality over large regions.
The EPA pointed out that the Regulations mainly specify joint responses among private and public venues and relevant units regarding poor air quality caused by weather conditions over large regions. Yet, in recent years, air quality has seen great improvement, and there are far fewer occurrences of the Air Quality Index (AQI) reaching 200 or more. The focus has now shifted to the number of red alert days, when AQI reaches 150 or more, as a major concern. Although various response measures to occurrences of poor air quality have already been put in place by the central and local governments, the revisions further specify these measures as formal regulations. Air quality forecasts are also expanded, including forecasts for the next three days instead of only the next day, so that the whole response mechanism can be launched in advance for early preparation. As for industrial response measures, new amendments mandate coal-fired generation units, steel smelting, the petrochemical industry, and both state-run and private incinerators to adhere to specific emission percentages in order to lower output or pollutants during periods of poor air quality.
The EPA further explained that another revision focus is to target local governments, which are mandated to notify the public to take actions to safeguard personal health. A good-neighbor clause has been added stipulating that upwind counties are required to help lessen harm to affected counties by adopting control measures. Now depending on regional circumstances, local governments are authorized to implement additional control measures on factories and vehicles. It is emphasized that adoption of these measures are for tackling poor air quality within a short period; long-term improvement still requires both the central and local governments to closely follow the multi-faceted strategies under the Air Pollution Control Act. Cooperation of all residents as well as all public and private premises in Taiwan are also needed.
Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, July 2021
- Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)