Sun, Jun 20, 2010 - Page 2 News List

Kaohsiung to try air pollution quota system

CLEAR AIRTo encourage factories to reduce emissions, the trial system allocates factories an emissions quota and firms will pay reduced fees if new equipment reduces their output

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Starting on July 1, Kaohsiung City, Kaohsiung County and Pingtung County will become the first areas in Taiwan to implement, on a trial basis, the Environmental Protection Administration’s (EPA) air pollution quota control system.

Under the plan, factories in the area will be granted an emissions quota, while old factories that manage to cut emissions levels through the purchase of new equipment will pay a reduced mandatory fee for the air pollution they cause.

The quotas can also be sold to other factories, said Lee Mu-sheng (李穆生), director of the city’s Environmental Protection Bureau.

Factories that experience difficulties cutting their emissions can encourage their employees to use public transport and subsidize them if they do so, allowing the company to then “deduct” the emissions saved on transport from the total pollution the firm produces, he said.

The plan is expected to force old factories to become more environmentally friendly and discourage the establishment of new factories in the area, Lee added.

“In the past, the plan would have met with strong opposition from the industrial sector, but environmental awareness has gained the upper hand in recent years and the city government believes it is time to implement the policy,” Lee said.

“If we don’t do it now, we will regret it in the future,” he added.

Air pollution is a major issue in the Kaohsiung area as several of the nation’s major industrial clusters are located in the city and nearby Kaohsiung and Pingtung Counties.

The Air Pollution Prevention Act (空氣污染防制法) allows the EPA to impose an air pollution ceiling on one or a number of cities and counties and to draw up plans to reduce pollution in the area. The act also empowers the EPA to auction emission quota permits.

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