Wed, Oct 15, 2003 - Page 4 News List

EPA boosts Web reporting system

By Chiu Yu-Tzu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Reporting environmental pollution via an Internet-based system should lead to more efficient investigations of such problems, an Environmental Protection Ad-ministration (EPA) official announced yesterday.

According to Ke Chih-hung (柯志弘), deputy director-general of the Bureau of Performance Evaluation and Dispute Settlement, about 110,000 pollution-related cases were reported last year. Only 2.7 percent of them were reported via the Internet.

To enhance its Web-based reporting system (ww3.epa.gov.tw), the EPA decided in June to redesign the system.

As of early this month, the system automatically began giving out case numbers as it received reports or complaints, to make it easier to track follow-up efforts.

"The system will dispatch the job to appropriate local-level agencies," Ke said at a press conference yesterday.

Officials encouraged people to report a wide range of environmental problems, including smelly waste water discharged by factories, sudden die-offs of fish in ri-vers, illegal dumping of animal corpses, black smokestack emission, outdoor waste burning, soot expelled from restaurants, noise from construction sites or rallies and abandoned vehicles.

Ke said that about 70 percent of cases reported in the past were not easy to investigate because of a lack of details.

The user-friendly Web-based reporting system, Ke said, will ask key questions designed to elicit important details to help investigators trace polluters.

People filing reports using the Web-based system will also be able to upload photographs of pollution violations to back up their complaints, Ke said.

On average, Ke said, complaints are investigated within two days or even as fast as four hours for case in urban areas.

However, Ke said, the efficiency of complaint-handling could be improved if people take advantage of the Web-based service to report polluters.

The EPA held two workshops last month to train officials from all local environmental bureaus on how to use the system.

Ke said that while the Web-based system would ensure the privacy of people filing reports, it would also accept complaints from those who preferred to remain anonymous.

According to the EPA, people who report violations, which lead to the detention of significant polluters or prevention of future environmental catastrophes, would be eligible for rewards ranging from NT$5,000 to NT$200,000.

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