Sun, Sep 30, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Taipei councilors criticize cable car sewage system

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Taipei City Government's management of the Maokong gondola system drew criticism from Taipei city councilors yesterday as they slammed the city government for damaging the environment around the system and for the poor design of the gondola stations' sewage treatment system.

Each of the gondola stations' sewage treatment systems is equipped to handle 10,000 liters of sewage per day, or about the amount generated by 40 visitors.

However, more than 14,000 visitors have taken the gondola every day, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councilor Lee Ching-feng (李慶鋒) said yesterday during a question-and-answer session at the Taipei City Council.

"The city government threw a big concert to celebrate the one millionth rider on the gondola, but completely ignored the fact that the system has been harming the local environment," Lee said.

Residents have complained about the smell of sewage near the stations, but the Taipei Rapid Transit Corporation (TRTC) and the city government have never addressed the issue, Lee said.

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) and the departments operating the gondola system should resolve the problem immediately, Lee said.

Lee and DPP Taipei City Councilor Chou Po-ya (周柏雅) later handed cups of muddy water collected from gutters near a station to Hau, TRTC president Tsai Hui-sheng (蔡輝昇) and Taipei City Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Sheng Shih-hong (沈世宏).

Sheng said that the department had not received complaints about the sewage and challenged the origin of the water samples presented by the councilors.

Chou and Lee blasted Sheng for avoiding the issue and failing to protect the environment.

Hau later acknowledged the poor design of the sewage treatment system, saying that the city government had underestimated the number of gondola riders and thus failed to provide adequate sewage treatment system capacity.

"We didn't expect the cable car to be so popular that the ridership reached one million in two months ... The city government will improve the situation as soon as possible," he said.

Hau promised to set up a timetable and improve the situation in one month.

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