Sat, Aug 23, 2008 - Page 4 News List

EPA celebrates birthday, vows work on emissions

GETTING BETTER EPA Minister Steven Shen said his predecessors had done a good job cleaning up Taiwan, which has seen a drop in heavy air pollution

By Meggie Lu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) yesterday celebrated its 21st birthday, with Minister Steven Shen (沈世宏) vowing to carry on the hard work of his predecessors. Shen also vowed to combat global challenges such as the energy crisis and global warming.

During the ceremony, former EPA ministers Winston Dang (陳重信), Eugene Chien (簡又新), Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) and Chang Chu-enn (張祖恩) were in attendance and commended the administration for its efforts in cleaning up the nation.

“In the past 21 years, the number of days Taiwan experienced bad air quality has dropped from 17 percent to 4 percent ... The number of rivers with pollution levels over the standard have dropped from 14 percent to 6.7 percent,” Shen said, adding that the nation also led the world in recycling, with daily waste per capita dropping from 1.1kg to 0.58kg.

However, massive construction projects as well as industrial development have elevated Taiwan’s carbon emissions to a level that puts it on par with the top carbon emitters in the world, Eugene Chien, the EPA’s first minister, said.

“From 1990 to 2006, while England and Germany’s emissions increased by 17 percent, and emissions in the US increased by 14 percent, Taiwan’s emissions increased by 113 percent,” he said.

“Taiwanese are now more and more aware of issues in environmental protection. However, it is also important to collaborate and make exchanges with other countries on environmental matters, as the effort to fight global warming should be taken to the international level,” he said.

Citing the Pacific Greenhouse Gases Measurement project, Dang said that “environmental diplomacy is not difficult and would be immensely helpful not only for Taiwan, but for the world.”

In the project, Taiwan offered “the last piece of the puzzle” for a group of European and Japanese scientists who wished to monitor the Earth’s greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.

Taiwan did so by installing observational equipment on China Airlines passenger flights, thus providing data over the Pacific Ocean, which was data that the joint European and Japanese project lacked.

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