Air quality unhealthy in central, southern Taiwan

Taipei--The air quality in most parts of Taiwan, including the offshore islands, was poor -- orange to red on the six-color scale -- Saturday with only the eastern part of the country seeing moderate air quality (yellow).

The Environmental Protection Administration said the generally poor air quality was caused by pollutants blown in from out of Taiwan, coupled with poor dispersal due to a lack of wind.

A total of 102 factories scaled back their output Saturday, a work day in Taiwan to make up for next week's long weekend, at the request of the authorities to help reduce pollution.

For Sunday, there is expected to be some improvement, with only central Taiwan flashing red, while the air quality in southern Taiwan will be orange, according to the Environmental Protection Administration's Taiwan Air Quality Monitoring Network (http://taqm.epa.gov.tw/taqm/en/AqiForecast.aspx). The air quality will be yellow for Yilan in northeastern Taiwan and good in Hualien and Taitung to the south of Yilan.

The EPA's color scale takes into account ozone, PM2.5 and PM10 particulates, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and nitric oxide concentrations in the air.

Green represents "good" air quality, with a pollutant reading of less than 50; yellow indicates "moderate" at 50-100; orange means "unhealthy for sensitive groups" with a reading of 101-150; red indicates "unhealthy" with a range of 151-200; purple signifies "very unhealthy" with a level of 201-300; maroon represents "hazardous" with an reading of 301-500.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel