The legislative Sanitation, Environment and Social Welfare Committee yesterday approved a resolution that would entitle residents of six villages around Formosa Plastics’ Jenwu (仁武) plant to free medical examinations at all major hospitals in Kaohsiung, the cost of which would be covered by the company.
The committee also asked Formosa Plastics Group to commission a reputable third party, such as an academic institution, to undertake a health risk assessment at the plant.
Earlier this week, Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) Minister Stephen Shen (沈世宏) said the company would be heavily fined for releasing highly toxic chemical pollutants into groundwater and failing to report the incident to the administration when it occurred in 2006.
The fine could reach NT$10 million (US$318,000), which is the equivalent of the profit earned by the plant since operations started.
The petrochemical conglomerate was guilty of not reporting a leakage of several types of toxins, including 1,2-dichloroethane, chloroethene, trichloromethane and benzene, when it occurred nearly four years ago.
Meanwhile, the committee also demanded that the Bureau of National Health Insurance amend the National Insurance Act (全民健保法) to force all Department of Health contracted hospitals to increase the number of available beds covered by the universal health plan.
The decision came in response to allegations made on Tuesday by the National Health Insurance Civic Surveillance Alliance — the nation’s biggest watchdog on the matter — that many major hospitals across the country fail to meet the requirement and that as a result patients often have to pay for beds.
At present, the law stipulates that public and private hospitals must reserve betwen 50 percent and 65 percent of their bed as NHI beds.
Lawmakers proposed an immediate amendment to raise the requirements to 85 percent and 70 percent for public and private hospitals respectively.
FATAL FIRE: The health department is trying to contact the inspector who visited the site of the illegal nursing home to ask why they did not advise follow-up checks The Taipei City Government yesterday said that a health department inspector last year had visited the site of a long-term care facility in Neihu District (內湖) after receiving a report questioning its status. A fire broke out at the facility on Tuesday afternoon, killing three people. The Taipei Fire Department said that it received a report about a fire on the first floor of a four-story residential building on Kangning Road Sec. 1 at 2:38pm on Tuesday, firefighters arrived at 2:43pm and the fire was put out by 3:07pm. The firefighters found three men in beds and rushed them to hospital for
Taipei City Councilor Wang Hao (王浩) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Monday called for security improvements to the MRT, as fare evasion has increased more than 13-fold on the metropolitan railway system over the past five years. Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) has spoken out against fare evasion and other contraventions of MRT regulations, but since he took office in 2015 the number of contraventions has more than doubled, Wang said, adding that there were 537 cases in 2015 compared with 959 last year. A video was posted to YouTube in June showing people how to evade paying a fare,
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Yuchi Township (魚池) fishers have appealed to the Nantou County Government for help in dealing with an invasive fish species in Sun Moon Lake (日月潭), where it has devastated the local ecosystem. Fishers at Sun Moon Lake have been using electrofishing in an attempt to eliminate the giant snakehead fish — found in Africa and Southeast Asia — but they have struggled to keep up with the growing population of the species, which breeds during September and October, the county government said on Monday. The county has contacted researchers at National Tsing Hua University, saying it hoped they could come up