Thu, Dec 18, 2008 - Page 2 News List

EPA launches new Web site to deal with ‘dirty’ areas

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Inspired by an incident in which a Japanese couple complained the Nantou town they had visited was dirty, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) has launched a Web site to encourage the public to keep Taiwan clean.

“The incident was really a chance for us to address the general problem in our country [of littering and pollution]. We hope the campaign ... can restore the nature of Ilha Formosa,” EPA Minister Steven Shen (沈世宏) told at a press conference at the Government Information Office.

“Although it is considered a rich country, Taiwan is still one or two steps away from becoming a country that offers a high-quality living environment. What we need is for people to change their bad habits, like throwing trash on the street,” Shen said.

Two years ago, a Japanese couple surnamed Nakamura who became the first to sign up for a government-run long-stay program designed to boost tourism, cut short their one-month trip in Puli (埔里), Nantou County, complaining of unsatisfactory living conditions.

The EPA said the new Web site would serve as a communication platform for individuals, environmental organizations and the government to exchange ideas on environmental issues, Shen said.

The public can report littering problems on the Web site, he said.

Starting next month, the EPA will send officials to look into the reports, he said. A total of 1,234 people will cover 7,800 boroughs and villages around the country as part of the Executive Yuan’s temporary job-creation project. The EPA program will continue until the end of next year.

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