Wed, Aug 09, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Lawmaker uses tea to accentuate pollution worries

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

DPP Legislator Wei Ming-ku, left, yesterday pours underground water from Changhua County into glasses of tea as part of an experiment to show that the water is polluted. Wei said that the water turned the tea black, indicating the presence of high concentrations of heavy metals.

PHOTO: SEAN CHAO, TAIPEI TIMES

The groundwater in Changhua County has most likely been severely polluted by heavy metals, a legislator claimed yesterday, and called on the government to investigate the matter.

To support his claim, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Wei Ming-ku (魏明谷) conducted his own experiment to demonstrate the pollution of the groundwater during a press conference yesterday.

Wei poured some tap water and mineral water into two glasses of tea, causing the color of the tea in both glasses to fade away. He then poured some groundwater into another glass of tea, which instantly turned a dark black color.

Wei said that the groundwater had been obtained from Hemei (和美) and Datsun (大村) townships in Changhua County.

"In Changhua County, the rate of access to tap water is 93 percent, which means that 7 percent of the residential water supply comes from the underground water table. But no one can say for sure that the groundwater is free from pollution," Wei said.

According to Wei, about one-third of the county's irrigation water is derived from underground sources.

"The government has remedied the cadmium soil pollution problem, but the rice grown there is still polluted with cadmium. In light of this situation, it seems likely that the groundwater has been polluted," former Changhua County councilor Ko Chin-te (柯金德), also a member of the DPP, told the news conference.

Shen I-fu (沈一夫), an official of the Environmental Protection Administration, who also attended the press conference, said that the groundwater in Changhua County has been tested, but no sign of pollution with heavy metals had been found.

Shen said that the groundwater in Changhua County was found to have a high iron and manganese content, which he said might cause a chemical reaction when mixed with tea that would explain why Wei's tea turned black.

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