A recent dioxin-concentration survey indicates that about 60 percent of medical-waste incinerators do not meet new emission standards that go into effect in January.
Incinerator operators who fail to meet the new requirements will be forced to halt operations or face heavy fines, Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) acting administrator Chang Juu-en (
Chang made the remark in response to concerns raised by People First Party Legislator (PFP) Cheng San-yun (
Chang said the daily capacity of medical-waste incinerators is 183 tonnes, which far exceeds the nation's daily average production of 41 tonnes.
Chang said that the EPA was reviewing the operation of all medical-waste incinerators to ensure that levels of dioxin emissions meet the standards that take effect in January.
"We still have enough daily capacity to handle all medical waste even some unsatisfactory incinerators are shutdown," Chang said.
In addition, Chang said a Global Positioning System tracking system would be used to monitor trucks transferring medical waste to prevent illegal dumping. Chang said measures related to such a system will be announced at the end of this month.
According to the EPA, levels of dioxin emission from 14 of the 23 operational medical-waste incinerators are higher than the 0.5 ng-TEQ/Nm3 stipulated in the new regulations. One incinerator in Kaohsiung has a dioxin-emission concentration that is 200 times the new standard or 102 ng-TEQ/Nm3.
According to Leu Horng-guang (呂鴻光), director-general of the Bureau of Air Quality Protection and Noise Control, the operators of the 14 incinerators have been notified about their lax performance.
The EPA has been urging all medical-waste handlers over the past two years to improve the performance of incinerators.
"If they don't take action to improve performance and fail to meet the new regulations in January, we will have them closed," Leu said,
Hsieh Herlin (謝和霖), a researcher of Taiwan Watch Institute, told the Taipei Times that stricter regulations on medical-waste incineration is not an effective way to tackle the problem.
Hsieh said that the EPA should abandon burn-oriented waste-management policies and turn to alternatives such as decontaminating infectious medical waste.
Using autoclaves as an example, Hsieh said, many Western countries render biomedical waste noninfectious by heating it with steam under pressure.
"If the EPA sticks to waste incineration, at least it should establish other regulations to discourage the health-care sector from using medical appliances made of polyvinyl chloride [PVC]," Hsieh said.
According to Hsieh, Western studies show that burning PVC produces much more dioxin than burning newspapers or any other non-chlorinated plastic.
SPEEDING ELETRIC VEHICLES: Available without license requirements, the low-cost vehicles, especially if illicitly modified, can often reach a dangerous speed The government should crack down on illegal electric bicycles and scooters, the non-profit Consumers’ Foundation said on Friday, citing research on the potentially dangerous speed of the vehicles. Electric bicycles and lightweight electric scooters have gained popularity as they do not require registration and riders do not need licenses, the foundation said, adding that as many as 40 percent of them can reach speeds exceeding the legal limit of 25kph for non-licensed two-wheelers. Some consumers also purchased legal electric vehicles and modified them to reach higher speeds, it said. “If the government does not step up efforts to confiscate these
‘RELIABLE PARTNER’: US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar praised the ‘Taiwan model,’ saying that the nation brought its spirit to its COVID-19 response The first memorandum of understanding (MOU) on health cooperation between the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the US Department of Health and Human Services was yesterday signed at the Centers for Disease Control in Taipei. The memorandum was signed between the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US, by AIT Director Brent Christensen and Taiwan Council for US Affairs Chairperson Jen-ni Yang (楊珍妮). US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) witnessed the signing of the memorandum, designed to enhance the nations’
Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) yesterday tweeted a welcome to Somaliland’s first representative to Taiwan, Mohamed Omar Hagi Mohamoud, who arrived on Friday. Mohamoud had “braved Chinese pressure” to take up his new post, Wu wrote. “The fact ‘sovereignty & friendship aren’t for sale’ deserves international recognition,” referring to a Somaliland media report earlier this month that Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi had rejected an offer by the Chinese government in exchange for ending its rapprochement with Taiwan. Wu also thanked the US National Security Council (NSC) for praising Taiwan-Somaliland ties. A council tweet on July 10 praised Taiwan
The US on Thursday removed a warning against all international travel, and placed Taiwan on a list of 13 destinations where the risk of COVID-19 transmission is “very low.” The list was compiled almost five months after the US Department of State issued a “global level 4 health advisory,” urging US citizens to avoid all international travel. On Thursday, the department announced that it was lifting the advisory, saying that “with health and safety conditions improving in some countries and potentially deteriorating in others, the Department is returning to our previous system of country-specific levels of travel advice.” The US