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Taiwan paves way for better control of small particle pollution

2012/06/26 17:58:19

Taipei, June 26 (CNA) Taiwan will begin its first large-scale monitoring of particulate matter of less than 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5) in August, an official said Tuesday, following the recent inclusion of the dangerous pollutants in the country's air quality standards.

The administration will send staff to 30 air quality monitoring stations across the island to manually record the concentration of PM2.5 particles every three days, said Roam Gwo-dong, director general of the Environmental Protection Administration's Environmental Analysis Laboratory.

It will be the first step in the country's efforts to precisely keep track of the pollutant, Roam said, explaining that the labor-intensive method could reduce the effect of humidity on the measurements because it might make the particles too big to detect.

"Based on the data, we might learn how PM2.5 particles get into the air we breathe and control the source of emissions more effectively," he said.

In May, the administration approved new regulations that limited PM2.5 particles to a maximum 35 micrograms per cubic meter per day, and a maximum annual average of 15 micrograms per cubic meter.

The main sources of PM2.5 particles are industrial facilities, such as power and petrochemical plants, and vehicles, Roam said.

The tiny particles were a key part of the argument raised by protesters last year in their opposition to the proposed Kuokuang petrochemical project in Changhua County, which has since been dropped.

President Ma Ying-jeou later promised to introduce regulations on the pollutant.

Due to the small size of the particles, they can easily enter the alveolar sacs of the lungs and be spread throughout the body by blood circulation.

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)