Wed, Dec 25, 2013 - Page 11 News List

Government turns blind eye to landfill pollution: farmers
垃圾場污染 農民批官府不聞不問

A local farmer points to an abandoned landfill in Yunlin County’s Douliou City on Dec. 17.

Photo: Huang Shu-li, Liberty Times

The retaining wall of the Jingmei Landfill in Yunlin County’s Douliou City is apparently cracked and toppling over and a busted aquiclude layer is causing wastewater leakage, allegedly contaminating several hectares of farmland while local agricultural products wither away from the pollution. Local farmers are lambasting government agencies for not showing enough concern about their livelihood. The Yunlin County Government’s Environmental Protection Bureau says that it is trying to procure funding to make the necessary improvements.

Located next to the Bade Public Cemetery in Douliou City, the Jingmei Landfill was issued a permit to operate in 2006, but from the time it began operations in 2005 until it shut down in 2009, incidents of farmland being polluted were incessant, and nothing came of several conciliation attempts between local farmers and the landfill’s operator before it eventually shut down. The farmers had assumed that the pollution plaguing their farmland would cease after the shutdown. Instead, it has increased and they have no way to seek compensation.

Lin Heng-te, a farmer whose farmland is adjacent to the landfill, says that after the landfill was built water from his well began turning red with unidentifiable bubbles in it. He was forced to build a new well farther away from the landfill. The paddy that he grows, however, has been contaminated by wastewater from the landfill on a number of occasions, forcing him to throw it out after harvesting.

Lin, with desperation in his voice, says that several years ago a storm caused the landfill’s retaining wall to topple over, crack and start leaking fetid wastewater that looks like soy sauce. In areas where the wastewater runs all of the grass has died and the apple snails (ampullariidae) perish, Lin says, asking how farmland in such a state could possibly be farmed. The agencies in charge have allegedly turned a deaf ear to these problems, so with no other alternative Lin simply decided to sell the land, he says.


1. turn a blind eye idiom

不聞不問;視而不見 (bu4 wen2 bu2 wen4; shi4 er2 bu2 jian4)

例: While the Netherlands turned a blind eye to small-scale retail sales of marijuana for years, Uruguay is the first UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs signatory to legalize the drug.


2. lambast v.

痛斥;嚴責 (tong4 chi4; yan2 ze2)

例: Animal rights activists have lambasted the cat and dog meat trade in China.


3. expropriate v.

徵收;徵用 (zheng1 shou1; zheng1 yong4)

例: The defense ministry is expropriating the farmland to build a new administrative and training facility.


Another farmer named Chang Kuan-chi, who also has farmland next to the landfill, says that he originally grew oranges on his farm, but after the landfill was set up all of the oranges died and turned black. He removed the orange trees and started growing bananas instead. Over the past three years, however, the bananas have kept dying too and have almost never produced a successful harvest.

In response to the toppling retaining wall and water seepage issues, the bureau says that it made plans last year to fix the problems, but farmers would not accept compensation for their land and instead demanded that the entire area be expropriated. Plans to use a waterproof canvas to cover the landfill and a gutter-digging project are underway, but the bureau is still trying to obtain the necessary funding.

(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)






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