Fri, Aug 11, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Duck farmers seek more official relief

DIOXIN CONTAMINATION A Changhua County group said they are afraid to raise ducks again because not all the polluters behind two incidents have been found

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH CNA

A duck causes some pollution of its own at a press conference held by Non-Partisan Solidarity Union Legislator Chen Chin-ting for duck farmers from Changhua County yesterday. The farmers want the government to set up a dioxin task force.

PHOTO: CNA

A group of duck farmers from Changhua County demanded yesterday that the government set up a task force to help them cope with the aftermath of a 2004 dioxin contamination incident.

The farmers told a press conference in Taipei that the government has failed to establish concrete solutions to help them after they were forced to stop raising ducks and destroy all their duck eggs because high levels of dioxin were found in duck eggs in Changhua County's Hsienhsi (線西) Township in December 2004.

After a second contamination case was reported in Shenkang Village (伸港) last September, farmers there were banned from raising ducks until further notice.

The restrictions were lifted at the end of June, and a subsidy the government paid the duck farmers as an advance until compensation was paid by the polluters was also halted.

The farmers said yesterday that they were too afraid to start raising ducks again.

"We want to raise ducks, but what if the ducks we raise are still contaminated with dioxin?" Huang Huo-cheng (黃火城), a representative of the farmers, said at the press conference, which was sponsored by Non-Partisan Solidarity Union Legislator Chen Chin-ting (陳進丁).

The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) issued a report on Dec. 16 last year, which named Taiwan Steel Union Co, a scrap-metal recycler, as being responsible for 10 percent of the pollution.

"Since the source of 90 percent of the pollution has not yet been located, who can guarantee that ducks won't be contaminated again with dioxin?" Huang said.

Chen asked the government whether the contamination has been fully eradicated in Hsienshi Township, whether it was safe to eat duck meat and eggs, and if duck farmers were leading satisfactory lives.

In response, Lin Chun-Lu (林俊錄), a senior specialist with the EPA's Department of Waste Management, told the press conference the agency had been working to trace the other polluters.

"We had found at least five possible polluters, in addition to Taiwan Steel Union, and referred them to the judicial authorities for investigation," Lin said.

Yang Su-chi (楊素季), head administrator of the Hsienhsi Township Office, called on the government to grant township officials the power to review companies' applications to establish factories.

"It's the central government's right to review the applications, but it is the local people who suffer from the pollution. When a pollution disaster happens, [it's the local] people [who] become victims," Yang said.

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