It appears certain that central Taiwan will not meet the targets for total quantity control of air pollutants set up by the Environmental Protection Administration of Executive Yuan this year. Nevertheless, Environmental Protection Bureau (EPB) of Taichung City Government has been still making efforts to cut air pollution and improve air quality in the region. Mayor Lin Chia-lung declared 15 air-quality regulatory measures on March 29 in a hope to reach the goal of controlling annual PM 2.5 average at or below 15μg / m3 in 2020.
To effectively control and implement the strategies and measures, the Air Pollution Reduction Task Force has been formed, for which Mayor Lin serves as convener and 13 bureau chiefs are members. Moreover, experts and scholars and environmental groups are invited to serve as advisors. Each bureau is asked to formulate an action plan according to its scope of responsibilities and assigned reduction quota.
To actively control the two major emission sources (Taichung Thermal Power Plant (台中火力發電廠) and Dragon Steel Corp. (中龍鋼鐵公司)), some self-government ordinances have been drafted and/or amended, including the "Self-Government Ordinance for Controlling Bituminous Coal and Banning Petroleum Coke in Public or Private Premises in Taichung City (draft)," the "Air Pollutant Emission Standards for Power Generation Facilities in Taichung City," and the "Air Pollutant Emission Standards for Steel Industry in Taichung City.” The Taipower Thermal Power Plant is required to reduce the use of bituminous coal by 40% in the next four years, and all the open-air coal depots are ordered to change into indoor storage units before the end of 2018. Both the Dragon Steel Corp. and Taipower have promised to build large-scale indoor coal storage units. On top of that, Taipower has also promised to set aside a budget of about NT$ 10 billion to update its equipment and improve power generation efficiency. In terms of vehicle control, the Taichung City Government has decided to completely eliminate its old diesel vehicles of phases 1 and 2 that have reached their life-time limit and actively seek the subsidy from the Ministry of Transportation for electric vehicles.
In addition, the city government has announced self-government ordinances to strengthen the control of fugitive emission sources, such as the burning of joss paper (which is to be reduced in quantity and concentrated at one location for burning) and the low-carbon certification for temples, shrines, and vendors. Moreover, Mayor Lin has instructed to plant one million trees in the next eight years, and large amounts of money have been raised for urban afforestation, green landscaping, and subsidy programs to encourage the public and private sectors to go for green landscaping and tree planting.
However, air can flow everywhere. It takes the cooperation of the local and central governments to improve air quality. For example, the central government should urge the Taipower to replace its old coal-firing generators and switch to the burning of natural gas as soon as possible and improve its power generation efficiency; encourage the development of green energy industry, such as solar energy and wind power; and persuade people to conserve electricity so as to reduce the load of Taichung Thermal Power Plant.
Everyone wants good air and blue sky. So, let us work together to get it. All the units in Taichung City Government have been moving up. We hope the central government will continue to promote the total quantity control of air pollutants in central Taiwan, and the central and local government can collaborate to control the fine suspended particulates at or below the national standard of 15μg / m3 in 2020.