Wed, Jan 31, 2018 - Page 1 News List

EPA to tax stationary pollutants

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Kaohsiung Environmental Protection Bureau Director Tsai Meng-yu, front row fourth left, and executives of Kaohsiung’s 20 most polluting factories hold signs bearing slogans yesterday as they pledge to cut emissions.

Photo: Chen Wen-chan, Taipei Times

The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) yesterday announced it would tax particulate matter and nitrogen oxide emissions from July in a bid to reduce factory pollution, a policy likely to affect electricity suppliers and steel smelters.

As human exposure to particulate matter can lead to respiratory problems, cardiovascular disease and even death, the agency plans to levy the air pollution tax on stationary sources, EPA Department of Air Quality Protection and Noise Control Director-General Tsai Hung-teh (蔡鴻德) said.

Factories that emit less than 1 tonne of particulate matter would have to pay NT$450 (US$15.39) per season, while those that emit between 1 tonne and 10 tonnes per season would pay between NT$32 and NT$46 per kilogram of emissions, he said, adding that those that emit more than 10 tonnes per season would pay between NT$38 and NT$55 per kilogram.

The rates vary because the nation’s air quality is worse in the first and fourth quarters, while pollution producers in the first and third air pollution control regions would also be taxed more, he added.

The nation’s stationary pollution sources produce about 40,502 tonnes of particulate matter per year, Tsai said.

The new policy is expected to curtail 8,755 tonnes of particulate matter per year, he said.

The policy mainly targets pollution sources such as electricity suppliers, steel smelters, cement makers, nonmetal mineral producers and sand and gravel excavators, he said.

If emissions contain hazardous air pollutants, such as lead, cadmium, mercury, arsenic and hexavalent chromium, firms would have to pay an additional NT$360 per kilogram of emissions, he added.

Producers of dioxins would also be charged more depending on their emissions, from NT$3,600 to NT$36,000 per gram of International Toxic Equivalent, Tsai said, adding that the rates would be higher than international standards.

More businesses would also be forced to pay for their nitrogen oxide emissions, with those that emit more than 24 tonnes per season no longer exempt from the pollution tax, he said, adding that they would have to pay between NT$8 and NT$12.5 per kilogram.

About 20 businesses — of which 92.7 percent are electricity suppliers and 6.8 percent are chemical producers — would be affected by the policy, Tsai said.

Through the policy, the agency estimates it would collect NT$1.37 billion annually for particulate matter emissions and NT$177 million for nitrogen oxide emissions, he said, adding that 60 percent of the revenue would be allocated to local governments, while the remainder would be at the agency’s disposal.

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