To tackle the poor air quality that is prone to occur during autumn and winter in central and southern Taiwan, the EPA activated the Inter-regional Cooperation, Prevention, and Response Team this year again, integrating the capacities of the EPA and environmental agencies of the counties and cities in western Taiwan and involving the assistance of experts and scholars to implement pollution prevention and contingency measures.
The Director-General of the EPA’s Department of Air Quality Protection Meng-Yu Tsai also headed south with a team on 4 October to discuss this year’s contingency plan with Chiayi County, Chiayi City, Tainan City, Kaohsiung City and Pingtung County and encourage all counties and cities to learn from the model of the cooperation between Kaohsiung City and Pingtung County to collaborate between them in dealing with cross-district air pollution problems. Environmental bureaus were also reminded to supervise and urge enterprises to reduce pollution emissions during periods of poor air quality.
The EPA indicated that during autumn and winter, short-term regional poor air quality tends to occur in Taiwan due to weather or topography factors. It is insufficient to rely on a single county or city government to fight against it alone. Therefore, the EPA launched the Inter-regional Cooperation, Prevention, and Response Team in 2019 to increase the overall response efficiency through cross-organizational cooperation and regular rolling reviews.
And since August this year, Kaohsiung City and Pingtung County have taken the initiative to cooperate between themselves to notify the upwind city/county when air quality becomes poor to carrying out contingency measures such as vehicle roadside inspections and factory inspections or pollution reductions to help lessen the pollution load in the county/city downwind. In addition, the EPA urged all environmental bureaus to refer to the draft amendments to the Regulations Governing Emergency Measures to Prevent Severely Deteriorated Air Quality to give guidance in advance to enterprises on the new stipulations about output and emission reduction of factories and the operation of the response team to carry out trial implementation and drills.
The EPA stressed that different solutions are taken for different types of air pollution. In addition to the long-term strategy of requiring factories to improve, environmental agencies will also strengthen the implementation of different contingency measures through the inter-regional response team in autumn and winter. Large factories or power plants will also be asked to reduce output and emission on their own. Additionally, the public is requested to help by taking actions such as using mass transportation, avoiding open air burning and adopting environmental worships in their daily lives. Moreover, the public is advised to make more use of the Environmental Info Push APP to keep abreast of the changes in air quality.
Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, October 2021
- Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)