Since the announcement of the Air Pollution Control Act on May 23, 1975, the regulatory standards have continued to be tightened and control targets have been better monitored in recent years with the more mature and comprehensive command on the characteristics of air pollutant emission, along with higher public awareness of environmental protection. However, due to the complicated air pollutant emission characteristics, the air quality in Chiayi County (hereinafter referred to as the County) is used as an example; although the number of days with air pollution indicators (AQI)>150 in the County has been improving in the past four years, ozone (O3) and fine particulate matter 2.5 (PM2.5) remain the main contributors to air pollution. It seems that the control on individual emissions has not significantly improved the air quality. Therefore, in consideration of the overall air pollution emission control method, the air quality management development plan was initiated.
In order to effectively implement the functions of the environmental education fund, while supervising and ensuring the effectiveness of the implementation of various committees, the Environmental Protection Bureau of the County has integrated the SIP to propose the “Air Quality Management Development Plan.” The Plan plays a role in assisting the Environmental Protection Bureau in supervising the progress and quality of implementing various control tasks, and simultaneously in compiling and analyzing the implementation effectiveness of each project and the air quality status over the years. It develops feasible air quality improvement and contingency measures to specifically improve air quality and enforce air pollution control. In addition, in order to effectively supervise and utilize the environmental education fund, the sub-plan control will be implemented to achieve the maximum performance of air pollution control that is in line with the evaluation method set by the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA), and to strive for the highest allocation proportion of the EPA’s Air Pollution Control Fund.
Based on the above, the 2017 air quality management development plan aimed to enhance both the performance and environmental indicators. The performance indicator refers to the implementation of a complete effectiveness control method based on the performance evaluation method of the Environmental Production Bureau, in order to help the Bureau supervise the progress and quality of implementing various control tasks. As for the environmental indicator, the County’s air quality objectives and control strategies were planned, and various plans to reduce pollutants and review the situation were formulated via analyzing air quality and revising and updating the amount of emissions of the County from the perspective of its pollution characteristics. In addition, short-, medium- and long-term control strategies were planned to formulate the key points of implementing air quality improvement plans in the following years, in order to systematically plan and study the timetable for improving air quality in the County.
According to the 2017 tender documents of the “Chiayi County Air Quality Management Development Plan”, the objectives of this project are as follows:
I. Along with the formulation of EPA’s Air Quality Control Policy, the air quality of the County over the years has been analyzed; characteristics of air pollution sources were analyzed and short-, medium- and long-term control strategies were formulated in accordance with the air pollution control plan and emission quantity management plan set by the County, in order to upgrade the County from a Class 3 control region to a Class 2 control region.
II. Study the trend on changes in the concentration of PM2.5 in the County to formulate control measures.
III. Assist in the regular checks and reviews of the implementation of plans related to air pollution prevention (management): the number of tasks completed and the quality and progress achieved; supervise improvements made on deficiencies in order to obtain good performance evaluation.
IV. Handle related operations such as checking air quality purification areas, environmental cleanup maintenance, facility maintenance and management, carbon sink survey, and entering information in a network platform.
V. Assist in handling the operation of the County’s environmental pollution prevention and control (governance) fund and related administrative matters to ensure the fund has been utilized appropriately.
VI. Handle affairs related to the promotion of the air pollution control (prevention), in order to enhance the County residents’ environmental awareness and adaptability to policy promotion.
The implementation schedule of the 2017 plan ran from April 10, 2017 to April 9, 2018. The implementation progress and handling of related work have all been completed according to schedule, and the progress and summary of achievements are as follows:
I. List of pollutant emissions and air quality status
The results of the County’s TEDs 9.0 (year 2013 as the base year) emissions showed that construction/road dust (83.5%) accounted for the highest proportion of TSP emissions, followed by vehicle emissions (7.4%); construction/road dust (69.7%) accounted for the highest proportion of PM10 emissions, followed by vehicle emissions (13.2%); construction/road dust (48.5%) further accounted for the highest proportion of PM2.5 emissions, followed by vehicle emissions (24.6%); industrial emissions (70.1%) accounted for the highest proportion of the SOX emissions, followed by non-road transportation (23.3%); vehicle emissions (51.7%) accounted for the highest proportion of the NOX emissions, followed by industrial emissions (34.8%); industrial emissions (33.2%) accounted for the highest proportion of NMHC emissions, followed by vehicles emission (24.2%).
The 2017 statistics released by the County showed that there were 23 days where AQI>150, among which there were 9 days with high concentration of PM2.5, and 14 days with high concentration of O3 (sub-indicator values of O3 and O3-8h were calculated, and the maximum of both values was used as the AQI). There was no high concentration of PM10 on any given day. The poor air quality rate was 3.2%, which is lower than the average poor air quality rate (4.0%) of Yunlin, Chiayi and Tainan.
II. Formulated measures to control pollution sources in the County
Control of stationary pollution sources: It is recommended that guidance be provided to proprietors regarding the use of clean fuel, such as replacing heavy oil with natural gas, or using clean coal to reduce the sulfur content of raw coal, in order to reduce emissions of pollution sources. Reference can be made to regulations for the catering industry in other counties and cities, whereby subsidies are provided to encourage proprietors to install fume control equipment, in order to reduce pollution emissions.
Control of mobile pollution sources: It is suggested that the Environmental Protection Bureau forbid two-stroke scooters from entering the controlled area, demarcate the low-pollution vehicle lane, and plan a schedule for banning the use of two-stroke scooters in accordance with the joint strategy on air pollution control implemented in Yunlin, Chiayi County and Chiayi City. With regard to diesel vehicles, it is indicated in the joint strategy that all registered phases 1~3 diesel vehicles must install smoke filters before the end of 2020. Currently, there are approximately 13,900 phases 1~3 diesel vehicles registered in the County. Where there is a high amount of vehicles, stable mass production of smoke filters has not been achieved at present. As such, it is recommended that stage-based implementation and control be adopted: reverting to testing and integrating EPA’s subsidy policy on smoke filter to formulate an implementation and control plan.
Control of fugitive pollution sources: It is recommended that the main rice production areas of the County be inspected during the period of open burning of rice straw. Inspections on hot spots where open burning of rice straw was found in the past should be conducted to reduce the possibility of occurrence. The adoption system for cleaning roads around Class I construction sites is actively promoted to reduce dust emitted from these sites. To encourage temples to reduce the burning of joss paper, simple PM2.5 detectors can be set up at temples to allow the public to view air pollution caused by the burning of joss paper and incense in a real-time manner.
III. Tracked and evaluated the effectiveness of each project
Two task force meetings on the reduction of air pollutants, four work review meetings, three committee review meetings, and one comprehensive review meeting on 2017 air quality maintenance and improvement, as well as key points of implementing 2018 tasks, were conducted.
Four pollution cases and improvements made in four pollution cases were reported; each case was handled within 24 hours.
IV. Establishment, maintenance, and management of the air quality purification zone
Two on-site assessments were conducted in May and October, respectively. Tracking of improvements was done twice in June and November, respectively, in which 29 and 31 places were tracked, respectively. On-site inspection and verification was done twice (in 12 places) by committee members in August. Tracking of improvements were completed in September. One end-of-year on-site evaluation was conducted in December, and tracking of improvements was done in January 2018. Relevant contact persons of the maintenance unit were updated in May, August, November 2017 and February 2018. A briefing session on the establishment, maintenance, and management of the air quality purification zone was conducted, along with commendation for units with excellent performance in 2017. This Plan helps to manage the maintenance work for 2 purification zones of the Environmental Protection Bureau, whereby monthly maintenance and management tasks were carried out on the “Greening and Beautification Project at waste dumpsite on lot No. 274 of Jiapu Section in Puzi City” and the “Greening and Beautification Project at waste dumpsite on Longde Section, Shiyizhicuo in Shuishang Township” for 12 months; 25 interpretive signs were updated, 8 wooden benches were repaired, the thickness of the existing trail facilities was increased and levelled by adding gravel to them, 3 promotional signs were added, and carbon sinks in 10 areas within the air purification zone were completed. The calculation of the CO2 storage in 10 areas within the air purification zones was also conducted, and the total CO2 storage was 242,747.791Kg.
V. Assisted in operations of the Air Pollution Control (Governance) Fund
Four fund management committee meetings were conducted, while assistance in preparation of the 2018 air pollution fund budget was provided. Meanwhile, the 2018 annual subsidy plan was submitted to EPA; the plan contained 5 continual projects: the “Project on Inspection and Control of a Permit for Stationary Air Pollution Sources and Volatile Organic Compounds”, the “Project on Checking, Inspecting, and Controlling the Function of Continuous Emission Monitoring System (CEMS) and Managing the Protection Network of Zhongyang Industrial Park”, the “Project on Exhaust Inspection of the Power Meter for Diesel Vehicles and Control of Alishan Air Quality Purification Zone”, the “Project on Preventing Open Burning of Agricultural Waste”, and the “Project on Promoting a System and Effectiveness Evaluation to Adapt to Climate Change and Low Carbon Sustainable Homes”.
VI. Other matters
The Plan is in line with EPA’s policy to enhance air quality. When the instantaneous concentration of major pollutants exceeds the pre-set value, the system will automatically send out an email message to notify the bureaus (offices) and 18 townships and municipal offices within the jurisdiction. Once the bureaus (offices) obtain the latest air quality situation, they can use web pages, electronic scrolling signs or village loudspeakers to convey poor air quality messages.
In order to provide the public with information on air pollution and the self-protection approaches to tackle it, relevant messages about the air pollutant concentration that has reached the notification indicator (forecast or real-time) will be broadcast by radio stations known to Chiayi citizens as soon as such information is obtained when poor air quality occurs, while the public is reminded to protect themselves.
During the implementation of the Plan, 180 forecast and notification messages about poor air quality were released; there were forecast messages about 2 days with high concentration of O3, 15 days with high concentration of O3-8h for 8 hours, 12 days with high concentration of PM10, and 151 days with high concentration of PM2.5. Among notification messages about poor air quality, one was about 140 days with AQI>100. Comparatively, the following contributed more to the reduction of the proportions of pollutants in the County: construction project: materials were better handled by being covered with a lid, water was sprinkled and other control measures were implemented; dirty roads were washed; stationary and fugitive pollution sources: inspection was conducted and autonomous management was reported; control of opening burning of rice straw: inspection was conducted; mobile pollution sources: vehicles were pulled over for inspection (including anti-idling and visual inspection of smoke emissions).