Dust from China sandstorm to affect Taiwan from late Sunday

Dust from China’s worst sandstorm in decades will begin to affect air-quality in Taiwan starting Sunday evening, March 21, according to the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA).

The EPA says that according to the latest observational data from the Central Weather Bureau, strengthening of the northeast monsoon and a continental high-pressure system will not cause a temperature drop starting Sunday night, and will also bring dust from the sandstorms.

According to the report, on Monday, March 22, central and northern parts of the country will see an orange air-quality alert, while the south will see red warning levels.

According to the EPA, the latest observations have measured a 10-hour PM concentration of 2,800 micrograms per cubic meter in Gansu and Inner Mongolia. Starting on Sunday night, PM concentrations in Taiwan are expected to reach 250 to 300 micrograms per cubic meter. Short peaks of over 300 micrograms per cubic meter are also expected.

The EPA has coordinated in advance with Taipower, the microelectronics industry, and other parties to reduce emissions from fuel and coal-fired power plants. Municipal governments have been urged to take response measures to reduce emissions, strictly control open burning in the agricultural industry, and maintain dust control measures on construction sites.

The EPA warned that spring weather can change rapidly and forecasts can be uncertain, so vulnerable groups such as people with weaker immune systems, children, and the elderly should take precautions, reduce strenuous activities outdoors, and wear masks for protection.

The affect of the dust storm is expected to begin easing Tuesday, March 23.

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