EPA urged to revise waste management for its incinerators - Taipei Times
Mon, Mar 31, 2003 - Page 2 News List

EPA urged to revise waste management for its incinerators


Legislators said yesterday that the incineration-oriented waste management promoted by the Environmental Protection Administration needs to be revised in accordance with public opinion.

At a workshop on waste management held by the Sustainable Development Committee (永續會) of the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, burning-orientated waste management policies were challenged by both legislators and environmentalists.

According to the legislators, the administration failed to reasonably predict the amount of household waste in the 1990s, when the agency began to promote waste incineration.

A good example to illustrate the EPA's carelessness is that the nation's residents only produced 19,000 tonnes of household waste daily in 2001, while the daily capacity of 19 operational incinerators was already 21,000 tonnes.

Legislators predicted that in 2011, when the 32 incinerators that the EPA expects to complete are finished, about 38 percent of total 23,300-tonne daily capacity will be unnecessary.

Although EPA officials said that additional capacity would be used to treat non-hazardous industrial waste, legislators said treating industrial waste in public incinerators means that taxpayers share the cost of waste management for industry.

Legislators estimated that the EPA uses about NT$2.25 billion to treat waste produced by industry each year.

"It's time for EPA head Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) to respond, and tell the public how he would revise this out-of-date policy," DPP Legislator Eugene Jao (趙永清) said.

In addition, the committee discovered that the EPA traces less than a quarter of the nation's industrial waste, including hazardous and non-hazardous. Legislators said more than 30 million tonnes of industrial waste was not recorded annually.

In terms of hazardous industrial waste, legislators said, about 40 percent of it is not recorded.

"This is a very serious environmental crisis," Jao said.

In addition, Jao said that Hau's idea to build at least one incinerator in each jurisdiction was not a wise one.

"We have enough incinerators. Now the EPA should study how to handle waste management regionally," Jao said.

Jao added that a specific mechanism for transferring waste to neighboring counties' incinerators should be established soon.

George Cheng (鄭益明), secretary-general of the Taiwan Watch Institution, questioned the EPA's loose regulations about the management of fly ash and bottom ash collected from incinerators.

Statistics show that, last year, waste incinerators produced 430,000 tonnes of fly ash and 1.73 million tonnes of bottom ash. According to the law, the former should be treated as hazardous industrial waste, while the latter can be dumped in landfills after passing the toxic characteristic leaching procedure.

Anti-incinerator activists, however, said the real situation is that some toxic fly ash was mixed with bottom ash before being dumped in landfills.

Mary Chen (陳曼麗), board chairperson of the Homemakers' Union and Foundation, urged the EPA to allocate more of its budget for food-leftover collection projects in order to reduce the amount of household waste.

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