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Fri, Jul 06, 2001 - Page 2 News List

Aboriginals protest against location of incinerator

By Chiu Yu-tzu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Aboriginals from Hsinchu County yesterday expressed strong opposition to a proposal to build a waste incinerator in their township, saying that garbage left by visitors to the Shei-Pa National Park (雪霸國家公園) should be managed by means other than burning it in a mountain area.

At a public meeting called at the Legislative Yuan by Walis Pelin (瓦歷斯貝林), an Aboriginal independent legislator, the protesters said that they had never been informed of government plans to build the waste incinerator near their homes in Wufeng township (五峰鄉). The township is located on the only road accessing the Shei-Pa National Park in the Kuanwu (觀霧) area.

A thriving tourism industry brings the peaceful Aboriginal township much more garbage than it produces itself. It also brings traffic accidents, which residents fear might increase with the installation of the incinerator and the large trucks that will travel in and out of Wufeng to supply it.

At the meeting yesterday, the Aboriginals sang high-spirited songs to demonstrate their determination to resist dioxin pollution from which, they say, they would suffer if the incinerator were installed.

The residents believe it unreasonable to build a waste incinerator to process garbage left by visitors to the national park.

"It violates the principles of environmental justice if local Aboriginal tribes have to be responsible for managing waste generated by visitors to Shei-Pa National Park," they said in a news release.

In addition, the residents argued that dioxin emitted from the incinerator might pollute rivers running through the township, which were the main sources of water for the Pao-er Reservoir (保二水庫).

Officials from the Environmental Protection Administration promised to investigate whether the local government or local township office had properly communicated with residents on the project.

According to officials from the administration's Bureau of Solid Waste Management, a project to establish small-scale waste incinerators in remote areas has been underway since 1994. According to the law, a project to establish a waste incinerator to treat less than 15 tonnes of waste a day need not be preceded by an environmental impact assessment.

Walis Pelin, however, asked administration officials to consider whether there was another alternative to building the incinerator in Wufeng township.

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