Fri, Apr 14, 2017 - Page 1 News List

Public-private funds to target pollution

UTILITIES PRIORITY:Premier Lin Chuan said the government would ensure a stable supply of electricity and water while it carries out measures to curb pollution

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter

Premier Lin Chuan speaks at a news conference at the Executive yuan in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times

The public and private sectors are to spend NT$200 billion (US$6.6 billion) on measures aimed at reducing air pollution, with a goal of lowering levels of PM2.5 — fine particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less — by 18 percent by 2019.

The government said that NT$36.51 billion has been earmarked to target lowering PM2.5 levels from 22 micrometers per cubic meter to 18 micrometers per cubic meter by 2019 and to reduce the number of “air pollution red alerts” by 47 percent, or from 997 per year to 528 per year.

State-run Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電) is to invest NT$10.11 billion to reduce power plant emissions by 2019 and another NT$22.15 billion afterward, while the private sector is expected to invest between NT$168.4 billion and NT$247.7 billion in air pollution controls.

The Cabinet has established 14 pollution control measures, including improving power generation efficiency; phasing out aging and energy-intensive vehicles and steam generators; reducing construction emissions, cooking emissions and dust emissions; curbing the burning of biomass and religious offerings; and promoting public transport and electric vehicles.

“The public does not feel the effects of the government’s pollution control measures, because there are too many sources of pollution and a single control measure cannot bring about much improvement,” Premier Lin Chuan (林全) said.

“The 14 short and medium-term measures — proposed by different ministries on a practical basis — are to engage air pollution in 14 battlegrounds to achieve tangible results in the short term,” Lin said.

As 10 to 40 percent of pollutants in Taiwan originate overseas, the government is to negotiate with neighboring nations to seek cooperation on regional pollution controls, Lin said.

Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) Minister Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) said the agency plans to phase out more than 1 million two-stroke scooters and 80,000 aging diesel trucks, while refitting 38,000 diesel trucks with diesel particulate filters in three years to reduce traffic emissions, which produce 30 to 37 percent of the total air pollution.

Stricter emissions controls would be implemented to reduce industrial emissions, which account for 27 to 31 percent of the total air pollution, with the EPA and the Ministry of Economic Affairs to subsidize the replacement of 6,000 inefficient steam boilers nationwide, Lee said.

Taipower has upgraded a coal-fired power plant in New Taipei City’s Linkou District (林口) with advanced ultra-supercritical power generation technology, which could lower the plant’s emissions to levels of natural-gas-powered plants, with Taipower planning to upgrade its power generation facilities nationwide, Lee said.

Asked if the requirements, coupled with plans to phase out nuclear power by 2025, would cause power shortages or investment instability, Lin said the government would ensure a stable supply of electricity and water to sustain economic development, adding that environmental protection is necessary even if it means more restrictions.

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