Sat, Dec 14, 2002 - Page 2 News List

River measures in Chiayi offer fresh views on pollution

By Chiu Yu-Tzu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The adoption of eco-friendly strategies at the Putzu river in southern Taiwan, one of Taiwan's most polluted rivers, has improved water quality, officials of the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said yesterday. Improvement of the Putzu is a major objective for the EPA with treatment programs costing NT$3 billion at nine major rivers also being carried out over the next three years.

During a field trip to the Putzu yesterday, environmental officials said most sources of pollution had disappeared.

The 76km river runs through the urban communities and industrial zones of Chiayi County and was one of the most polluted rivers in Taiwan due to illegal waste dumping and industrial waste discharge.

According to the EPA, household waste accounts for 75 percent of pollutants, with animal husbandry sewage adding 13 percent and industrial waste 7 percent.

"Sources of industrial waste water were less than before due to stricter inspections and the recent economic recession," said Lin Rong-her (林榮和), director of the Bureau of Environmental Protection of Chiayi County Government.

To decrease pollution caused by household waste water the EPA pumped 2,000 tonnes of river water a day during dry season to higher grassland in a bid to filter out impurities.

At the most polluted section of the river, special cleaning machines have been installed.

Lin said that the lack of a sewer system in Chiayi makes river treatment more challenging.

The EPA is researching biotechnologies from Japan to help treat sewage discharge from urban communities.

Officials claimed that, since September last year, 24 percent of animal husbandry sewage has been cut by relocating pig farms distributed along the river.

According to the director-general of the EPA's Bureau of Water Quality Protection Cheng Shean-rong (鄭顯榮) the river was the first one the EPA encouraged local government to treat by adopting eco-friendly technologies.

To preserve the biodiversity of the river, environmental education programs to survey ecological systems and train 600 volunteers have been carried out this year.

Along the river, two recreation parks were built to provide local residents with access to the river with six more under construction.

EPA officials said that the experience gained in treating the Putzu would be applied to other rivers.

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