To begin, air quality in Taiwan is measured according to the Air Quality Index (AQI). The AQI measures for sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, ozone and other particulates (PM10 and PM2.5). 台灣空氣品質的測量是用空氣品質指標 (AQI). 空氣品質指標測量的內容是二氧化硫, 二氧化氮, 二氧化碳, 臭氧還有PM10跟PM2.5.
An AQI of 0-50 is seen as "good," 51-100 is "moderate," 101-150 is "unhealthy for sensitive groups," 151-200 is "unhealthy" and 201-250 is "very unhealthy." When the AQI reading approaches 300, governments start telling people to stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise outdoors. 0-50AQI算 "優," 51-100算 "良," 101-150算 "輕度污染," 151-200算 "中度污染," 201-250算 "重度污染." AQI超過300的時候, 政府會叫民眾留在家裡不要在戶外運動.
With the above stated, let's look at air quality in Pingtung. In Pingtung there are air monitoring stations in Hengchun, Fangliao, Pingtung City and Xiaoliuqiu. The air monitor in Linyuan District, Kaohsiung City is right across the river from Xinyuan Township in Pingtung, so I'll use Linyuan's reading for Xinyuan.* 話說回來, 我們來看屏東的空氣品質. 屏東縣的環境監測站在恆春, 枋寮, 屏東市跟小琉球. 高雄市林園區的監測站很靠近屏東縣新園鄉, 所以林園的空氣品質也可以表示新園的.
I'm using the readings for March 17, 2021 in this entry. The prevailing wind was hitting the island from the east, and there was a small convection cell off the west coast, blowing the air northward. On this day the worst air in Taiwan was in Changhua County, which approached 150 on the AQI. The worst area in the world was north China, where a dust storm was occurring. The air quality there was over 1000. 下列是三月十七日的空氣品質指數. 風向從東到西. 本島西部也有個對流室把西部的風吹往北邊. 這一天本島最差的空氣在彰化. 那邊的空氣品質快到150AQI. 世界上空氣最差的地方就是中國大陸的北部. 因為塵暴的關係, 那邊的空氣品質超過1000AQI.
7 am - 33
12 noon - 31
7 pm - 31
Hengchun always has the best air in Pingtung. There are no factories, farming is limited, it gets the east and west winds, and the population is low. The air isn't as good as what you'd find in Taitung, which is shielded from the west coast's air pollution by the Central Mountain Range, but it's still very good. 恆春的空氣品質都是屏東最好的. 恆春沒有工廠, 農業發展有限, 也能受到東向和西向的風吹拂, 人口也少. 那邊的空氣品質雖然不是跟受到中央山脈阻隔西部空氣汙染的台東一樣好, 可是還是很不錯的.
7 am - 71
12 noon - 82
7 pm - 93
Fangliao and Pingtung City often switch places in terms of air quality. Sometimes one is better, sometimes the other. The Pingnan Industrial Area is in Fangliao, and the area is more heavily farmed. Fangliao is also cut off from the east wind by the mountains, and it's a lot closer to the industrial areas in south Kaohsiung. 枋寮跟屏東市的空氣品質時常好壞互相輪流. 有時候枋寮比較好, 有時候屏東市比較好. 屏南工業區在枋寮, 這裡農業也發達, 也有中央山脈擋住了它東面的風. 枋寮離高雄南部的工業區也近多了.
Pingtung City 屏東市
7 am - 74
12 noon - 64
7 pm - 49
People in Pingtung City often complain about the quality of the air they breathe, but it's often not that bad. A lot of their air quality depends on wind direction. Pingtung City of course has its own industrial centers, but these don't seem to be as big a factor as winds blowing in from other places. 屏東市的居民常說那邊的空氣品質很差, 可是有時候還好. 空氣品質的好壞主要要看風向. 雖然屏東市有自己的工業區, 但工業區的影響好像不及風是從那些地方吹過來重要.
7 am - 97
12 noon - 109
7 pm - 115
It may surprise some people, but yes, the air around Xiaoliuqiu is often the worst in the county. Why? Because it's not far from the industrial areas in Kaohsiung, where two coal-burning power plants are located. If the wind is blowing north the air there is good, but when it's blowing south or it's relatively stagnant the air is bad. 有的人應該不敢相信, 有時候小琉球的空氣品質是屏東縣最差的. 為什麼? 因為小琉球很靠近高雄兩個燃煤電廠跟工業區. 如果風往北吹, 空氣品質不錯, 如果往南吹或沒風, 那邊的空氣品質會很糟.
7 am - 89
12 noon - 105
7 pm - 66
The air quality in Xiaoliuqiu and Xinyuan is usually similar. On March 17 the air in Xinyuan was better, on another day it might be worse. 小琉球跟新園的空氣品質通常差不多. 三月十七日的時候新園的空氣品質比較好, 可能改天小琉球的空氣比較差.
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*Kaohsiung 高雄 also has air monitors in Daliao 大寮, near Wandan 萬丹, and in Meinong 美濃, near Kaoshu 高樹. Daliao seemed too close to both Xinyuan and Pingtung City to be worth including, and since Meinong is quite big I wasn't sure how valid it was for Kaoshu.
NOTE 1: "PM" = "Particulate Matter." Don't feel bad if you missed that. It took me a while too. The 10 and 2.5 refer to the diameter of the particles in micrometers. This chart shows commonly encountered particulate matter and the relative diameters of each type. Generally speaking, the smaller the particulate matter the more dangerous it is.
NOTE 2: Air pollution maps that assign one color to an entire county are meaningless. This is especially true of Pingtung County, which stretches very far from north to south. On even the most polluted days the air quality almost invariably turns "good" once you hit central Fangshan 枋山.