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Announcement of 2023 Air Quality Monitoring Statistics Air Pollution Control Achievements and Outlook

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The Ministry of Environment has released preliminary statistics on air quality monitoring results from the past eight years, indicating a positive trend in the reduction of pollutant concentrations. Notably, the percentage of days with poor air quality (AQI > 100) has declined significantly, dropping from 15.09% to 6.35%. The annual average concentration of PM2.5, which stood at 20 μg/m3 in 2016, has decreased to 13.8 μg/m3 as of December 2023, representing an overall improvement of more than 30%.

While overall pollutant levels have shown a downward trend, it is worth noting that the annual average concentrations of PM2.5 and ozone in 2023 have increased by 1.4 μg/m3 and 1.8 ppb, respectively, compared to 2022. This increase is primarily attributed to the prevailing low-speed environmental wind patterns and lower daily rainfall in central and southern Taiwan. Under such conditions, fine particulate matter  disperses, less easily,leading to localized pollutant accumulation. Additionally, with easterly winds coupled with high temperatures but otherwise stable meteorological conditions, precursor substances for ozone tend to accumulate in western Taiwan, facilitating ozone buildup through photochemical reactions.

The Ministry of Environment emphasizes that over the past eight years, various government ministries within the Executive Yuan have collaborated to address  sources of pollution. In comparison to 2016, emissions from factories and traffic have decreased by 38% and 30%, respectively, resulting in tangible improvements in air quality. To enhance air quality, the Ministry of Environment has implemented several pollution abatement initiatives, including the "2016 Clean Air Action Plan," "2017 Air Pollution Prevention and Control Action Plan," and "2020 to 2023 Air Pollution Prevention and Control Action Plan." The initial phase of these programs has effectively targeted emissions from factories, vehicles, and ships, as well as improved  quality of life for residents. Notably, joint efforts by the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Economic Affairs have promoted public utility transformations in public utilities,including initiatives at the Taichung Thermal Power Plant, Xingda Thermal Power Plant, China Steel Corporation, and Taiwan International Shipbuilding Corporation, With expected air pollution emission reductions exceeding 50%.

Simultaneously, initiatives have been launched to replace and upgrade commercial and industrial boilers, transitioning to usage of natural and reducing the proportion  of coal and heavy oil-burning boilers from 60% to less than 20%. Additionally, concerted efforts have been made to retire old vehicles, resulting in a nearly 50% reduction in large diesel vehicles (70,000 vehicles) and a 62% decrease in old motorcycles/scooters (from 6.98 million to 2.66 million). Furthermore, ongoing improvements in the Zhuoshui River region have reduced the area of exposed land by 77%, significantly reducing the number of days with dust-related incidents from 59 in 2017 to just 4 in 2023, a remarkable improvement of over 90%.

The Ministry of Environment underscores that while substantial progress has been made in recent years through collaborative efforts between central and local governments, challenges persist, particularly in the realm of regional and seasonal air quality. In 2023, the focus will shift from fine suspended particles to ozone as the key indicator pollutant. Therefore, in the second phase of the air pollution control plan spanning 2024 to 2027, precise control measures will be intensified, with a target of reducing the number of days with red warnings for unhealthy 8-hour average ozone concentrations and achieving an 80% reduction in PM2.5 compared to 2019 levels. Additionally, efforts will be directed towards ensuring that PM2.5 levels in the central and southern regions fall below the 15 μg/m3 threshold. Aligned with the national net-zero emission policy, measures to reduce pollution and emissions will be actively pursued, contributing to the ongoing enhancement of domestic air quality and safeguarding the health of the nation's citizens.

Ministry of Environment