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Kaohsiung and Hualien to host eco-industrial parks

January 24, 2003 Taipei Times

The nation’s first eco-industrial parks will be established this year in Kaohsiung and Hualien counties, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) announced on Thursday.

To promote industries involved in turning waste into energy, the EPA has allocated NT$256.8 million to the selection of three local authorities which will build three eco-industrial parks in the north, center, and south of the country.

After three months of evaluation, the agency has chosen two sites from seven that were put forward by local authorities. One park will be located in Kaohsiung County’s Benchao Industrial Zone and the other in Fenglin, Hualien County. Officials said that authorities in the two counties were anxious to promote regional development by adopting long-term strategies including building infrastructure nearby.

The EPA said the eco-industrial parks would introduce foreign advanced environmental technologies and integrate local environmental professionals. The EPA announced that among the industries to be located in the parks would be companies that recycle commercially, are involved in energy-efficient R&D;, and manufacture environmentally friendly products.

“In Kaohsiung County, industries in the park can be linked to existing facilities for hazardous industrial waste treatment in the Benchao Industrial Zone,” Liu Chug-chun, a senior EPA specialist, told the Taipei Times.

Liu said that several foreign environmental engineering companies from Singapore, Australia, and France have inquired about investment opportunities in the new parks. These companies are involved in recycling waste electronic appliances, managing organic waste, and refining metals. Liu indicated that in the future eco-industrial parks would be free of emissions and that industrial firms would jointly take the lead to achieve the goal of creating a sustainable society.

The construction of the two eco-industrial parks will begin in July and companies will be able to set up factories in them at the end of this year. EPA officials said that NT$12 billion from the private sector and NT$5 billion of government money would be invested in the two parks over the next 10 years, which would create NT$35 billion in business each year. Officials said the two parks could lead to the creation of 3,000 jobs.

The EPA said it would still encourage authorities in central Taiwan to file an application to build an eco-industrial park, however, no such application has yet been received.

When all three proposed parks are completed, officials said, the government would spend less than NT$2.5 billion to treat waste and turn 2.5 million tonnes of waste into useful resources each year. Many countries have built eco-industrial parks to promote waste-to-energy related industries, including Denmark, the U.S., Canada, Spain, the Netherlands, and Japan.

Taiwan will be the second nation in Asia to build such a facility and the EPA will model the eco-industrial parks on Japanese eco-towns.