A technical problem at a power station this morning caused one of its three chimneys to emit a pall of thick, black smoke containing sooty ash, which fell on the surrounding district.
At around 11:00am, residents around the Hsieh Ho Power Station in Keelung City noticed a thick black cloud of smoke coming out of one of the power station’s chimneys. Black soot rained on cars and blackened people’s clothing. A broadcast from the power station’s office warned residents to avoid going out if possible, and to wear a mask, if they must go out.
After reports along with pictures were uploaded to the Internet, Keelung Municipal Council Speaker Sung Wei-li (宋瑋莉) headed to a fishing port near the power plant to monitor the situation.
The council chief observed a continuous rain of soot falling on her head, face, and clothing like black snow. Cars and the surface of the ocean were covered in the black ash. Sung said the pollution constituted a serious problem and she hopes that the power station managers can deal with the problem immediately.
A motorcyclist wiped his face with a tissue as he told reporters that his face had turned black as he rode through the district.
The Environmental Protection Agency is assessing the impact of the pollution and whether violations of pollution control laws have occurred.
The Hsieh Ho Power Plant is the only fully oil-fired power plant in Taiwan.