Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday named Environmental Protection Administration (EPA)Secretary-General Chen Yeong-ren (陳永仁) as the head of the city's Bureau of Environmental Protection.
The post was left vacant when the former head, Shen Shih-hung (
"I will follow Shen's policy of pushing for Taipei's garbage recycling and reducing the garbage volume," Chen Yeong-ren said yesterday.
"Meanwhile, I hope to improve environmental sanitation, and work on eliminating of the sources of diseases -- such as mosquito," Chen Yeong-ren added.
Chen Yeong-ren said that he was a good friend of Shen's and that Shen would often confer with him before making important decisions.
It is believed that Shen resigned mainly due to pressure from city councilors with whom he had a rocky relationship.
The councilors complained that Shen would often reveal his policies to the news media without first informing the city council -- and that councilors would become aware of his plans only when asked about them by reporters.
Chen Yeong-ren said that Taipei Chief Secretary Chen Yu-chang (陳裕璋) contacted him about the job last Saturday night. After discussing it with his family, Chen Yeong-ren decided to accept the job on Sunday morning.
Regarding his relationship with the council, Chen Yeong-ren said that, "the best way to put forward a right policy is to make it clear to the councilors frequently."
Chen Yeong-ren also said that he would be careful, and consult with city officials on how best to handle his relationship with the council.
Meanwhile, the city's Bureau of Health announced yesterday that it has formed a special anti-epidemic task force to more efficiently control the spread of communicable diseases. The bureau said it has selected 210 frontline health-care providers from the various municipal medical facilities to form the special team.
The team will be activated only when the city is gripped by a sudden outbreak of a communicable disease, such as SARS, the bureau explained.
Taipei was seriously affected by SARS, with nearly half of the nation's total cases reported in the city. The outbreak exposed flaws and deficiencies in the epidemic-fighting system, especially at the municipal level.
"Therefore, we have decided to set up a special team to help with epidemic survey and quarantine operations in the event of a new outbreak of any communicable disease," a bureau official said.
The bureau also offered a basic epidemic prevention program for selected staff members from the municipal medical facilities to enhance their professional expertise in epidemiology and disease control. The training workshop will be held regularly from now on.