Wed, Mar 13, 2002 - Page 4 News List

EPA to fight polluters with technology

By Chiu Yu-tzu  /  STAFF REPORTER

High-tech monitoring systems have improved Taiwan's ability to investigate major environmental dis-putes quicker, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said yesterday.

"By adopting advanced remote-sensing technologies, inspectors will collect evidence much quicker in cases of environmental pollu-tion. This will speed up the settlement of public nuisance disputes [related to pollution]," said Ko Chih-hung (柯志弘), deputy director general of the EPA's Bureau of Performance Evaluation and Dis-pute Settlement, at a press conference yesterday.

The EPA has developed a joint program with the Center for Space and Remote Sensing Research at National Central University (NCU). The joint program has been using the technology to collect evidence of environmental pollution for two years.

According to Chen Chi-farn (陳繼藩), an NCU associate professor at the center, an inspection team armed with advanced electronic devices, such as advanced personal data assistants (PDAs) and digital cameras, has demonstrated how quickly data can be transferred from the field to the control centers.

The program has helped the EPA to monitor polluted areas on sea surfaces that was caused by the oil that spilled from the Greek-registered MV Amorgos in January last year.

In Kaohsiung County, the technology helped to uncover evidence that highly toxic pollutants were discharged into the city's river from factories.

Chen said that information exchange can now be carried out in real-time by monitoring systems that incorporate remote sensing systems, geographic information systems, global positioning systems (GPS), electronic compasses, electronic maps, and remote-controlled drone helicopters.

Chen said that Taiwan currently shares geological information and satellite imagery that is collected by commercial satellites operated by the US, Israel and Canada. These images have a resolution of 1m to 2m.

"But now we are looking forward to receiving satellite imagery with a resolution of 2m from Taiwan's ROCSAT2 satellite, which is scheduled to be launched in 2005 and will pass Taiwan twice a day," Chen said.

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