《TAIPEI TIMES》Taipei to set up ‘air quality management zones’
Traffic passes through the area around Taipei 101 in Taipei’s Xinyi District on March 25. Photo: Kuo An-chia, Taipei Times
NEW STANDARDS: The policy should slash PM2.5 by 27.3 tonnes per year, down 4.5 percent from current levels, the Taipei Department of Environmental Protection said
By Tsai Ssu-pei and Dennis Xie / Staff reporter, with staff writer
Taipei is to designate three transportation hubs and six tourist hotspots as “Phase One Air Quality Management Zones,” with the types of vehicles allowed to enter them restricted, the Taipei Department of Environmental Protection said in a news release yesterday.
Vehicle owners and drivers failing to meet emission standards in those zones would be subject to fines from next year, the agency added.
Starting from Jan. 1 next year, large diesel vehicles would need to be certified and bear the government’s “Premium Self-management Logo,” showing that the vehicle’s emissions are in line with government standards, before they could enter the zones, it said.
Scooters failing to undergo the required regular inspections would also lose access to the zones, the agency added.
The air quality management zones would be Taipei City Hall Bus Station, Taipei Bus Station and Nangang Bus Station, as well as Yangmingshan National Park, the National Palace Museum, Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, the National Revolutionary Martyrs’ Shrine and Taipei 101, it said.
Offenders would receive verbal warnings throughout January, but from February they would face fines of NT$500 to NT$2,000, depending on their vehicle type, with a maximum fine of NT$60,000, it added.
Many cities in other countries, such as Berlin, Amsterdam, Stockholm and London, have implemented similar regulations to curb pollution, the agency said, citing London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone as an example.
The agency is introducing the regulations — the first in the nation — as diesel engine exhaust has been classified as being “carcinogenic to humans” by the WHO, Air Quality and Noise Control Division head Yang Mei-hua （楊梅華） said.
Regulations would first target large diesel vehicles, as the amount of fine particulate matter smaller than 2.5 micrometers （PM2.5） that they generate is much higher than other vehicles, Yang said, adding that it is also the reason for targeting major bus stations and sightseeing areas frequented by such vehicles.
Small diesel vehicles would not be included in the regulations, she said, citing lower emissions and the difficulty of enforcement, as inspectors cannot distinguish diesel vehicles from gasoline vehicles.
The new policy is expected to slash PM2.5 by 27.3 tonnes per year, down 4.5 percent from current levels, the agency said.