Sat, Jul 12, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Composting works in south

REDUCE, REUSE AND RECYCLE Nantou County has been able to reduce the amount of waste it produces by diverting a substantial amount into compost heaps

By Chiu Yu-tzu  /  STAFF REPORTER IN NANTOU

An innovative way for recycling leftovers in Chushan Township, Nantou County, turns 100 tonnes of leftover food into fertilizer, further prolonging the lifespan of operational landfills, according to the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) yesterday.

To ease the burden of local landfills, the EPA plans to increase composting in the nation to 900 tonnes next year from last year's 300 tonnes. EPA officials said yesterday that Nantou County, an agricultural region, has proven that promoting recycling decombustables can be more than just talk.

In Chushan, where a recycling program was launched in May, 20 to 30 percent of household waste is recycled regularly through the composting plan.

"Due to recycling, the lifespan of an operational landfill can be prolonged by about 7 years," Chen Tung-mu (陳東睦), chief of Chushan Township Cleaning Team, said at a press conference yesterday.

According to Chen, a specially designed compost truck, costing NT$1.8 million, helped a lot.

"It is the most advanced one in Taiwan. Its two intakes are connected to pressure systems prevent odors from escaping when leftovers have been dumped into it," Chen said.

Compost is treated in a NT$3 million treatment system. Compost produced by it can be used for not only fertilizing but also conditioning soil.

Currently, soil experts from Da-yeh University (大葉大學) take samples of compost from the cleaners to conduct their experiments, hoping to figure out strategies to enhance soil.

Local environmental officials said that the collection of compost could also meet the fodder demand of pig farms. In the townships of Puli (埔里), Mingchien (名間), and Tsaotun (草屯), most decombustables are made into pig fodder.

Meanwhile, in Shanchung borough (山崇里), a home-based compost program was launched in 2001.

According to Huang Te-fu (黃德富), who heads a team composed of more than 50 volunteers to promote reduction of waste through composting, treating 2kg of leftovers produced by one family costs only NT$6.

Huang's team has successfully sold their experience to other townships in Nantou in the last two years. Currently, more than 2,000 families in the county produce decomposable waste in their residences.

Huang said that organic vegetables fertilized by self-produced compost was welcome because they made the vegetables taste good.

Edward Huang (黃光輝), deputy director general of EPA's department of Planning, said that Shanchung's performance demonstrated the practice of environmental protection in day-to-day life.

"The distributed model in Chushan is actually suitable for any remote area in any agricultural county like Nantou," said Huang Ching-ju (黃靜如), deputy director of Environmental Protection Bureau of Nantou County.

In addition to leftovers, officials said, Chushan residents are also cooperating in recycling materials. The recycling rate in Chushan has increased to 18.25 percent in June from 1.24 percent in the same period in 1998.

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