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EPA-Taiwan announced on the achievement of a seminar held  last week.

EPA holds seminar on environmental issues

Publish Date:05/21/2004
Story Type:National Affairs;
Byline:Cecilia Fanchiang

The Executive Yuan’s Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) recently hosted a seminar on eco-friendly industries on the campus of I-Shou University in Kaohsiung County. More than 60 Taiwanese experts attended the conference where they met with their counterparts from the United States, Japan, Canada and Austria. The meeting was aimed at making Taiwanese companies realize the importance of environmental protection and perhaps consent to the introduction of “green” technology. Many believe that if enough companies develop practices that respect the environment, perhaps the government will eventually achieve its stated goal of turning Taiwan into a “green silicon island.” There is still ample room for Taiwan to develop environmentally friendly industries and technology, said EPA head Chang Juu-en in a speech at the seminar. Chang admitted that Taiwan could use help from foreign experts regarding the efficient use of manufacturing by-products and daily refuse so that the country might become a “recycling society.” He added that the Executive Yuan has so far approved most applications for setting up eco-science parks around the island. According to Chang, the EPA has endorsed two eco-industrial parks to be built in Taoyuan and Tainan counties, in addition to last year’s approval for two eco-industrial parks to be constructed in Kaohsiung and Hualien. Chang expressed his hope that manufacturers at these four sites will collaborate on the development of eco-science parks, where industrial resources and energy are recycled. Construction of an eco-industrial park in southern Kaohsiung began in February, and seven companies have so far applied to set up factories in the park. Four of those companies have already begun building their plants, according to Chang. He added that the 40-hectare eco-industrial park could be enlarged if necessary. There are several environmental protection initiatives in Taiwan. For example, a meeting was recently held by the Taiwan Environmental Protection Union, Taiwan Anti-Nuclear Action Alliance and several other nongovernmental organizations. Representatives of the various groups reached a consensus at the meeting to call for harmony between human beings and the environment, which is what people rely on for sustainable development. They also said environmental rights, like basic human rights, should not be abandoned or traded, and that all people in the world are responsible for environmental protection, as the issue goes beyond boundaries such as race, religion and politics. On March 11, the Executive Yuan’s 10-year national project aimed at building eco-industrial parks in northern, central and southern Taiwan underwent a revision in which the project’s administrative budget was increased from US$155 million to US$188 million. The predicted area of the eco-parks amounts to 123 hectares. The project is considered essential to the EPA’s ongoing campaign to create a garbage-free society by classifying trash and recycling waste. Last year saw a revision of the Waste Disposal Act and the EPA drafted revisions to the regulations government recycling, storage, clearance and disposal of a number of waste items, including motor vehicles, tires, lubricating oil, lead acid batteries and dry cell batteries. These revisions provide specific standards for recycling companies to follow in order to prevent secondary pollution through the recycling process. The EPA’s original plan was to build 36 incinerators by 2003 to handle 90 percent of Taiwan’s municipal waste. Construction fell short of target, but officials believe that might be just as well since recycling has reduced waste to the extent that they would not even be operating at full capacity. According to environmentalists, incinerators designed for municipal waste are not suitable for burning industrial waste, which produces more toxic by-products. Kaohsiung County Magistrate Yang Chiu-hsing pointed out that an environmentally friendly research facility that uses recycled construction materials and energy-saving devices will open in the park in June 2005. “Jointly developed by 10 universities and colleges in southern Taiwan, the building is going to be Taiwan’s first eco-research facility,” said Yang. To promote green energy research and development, the EPA solicited investment from leading companies such as Formosa Plastics Group and DuPont Taiwan Ltd.