Taipei is among the top green cities in Asia, according to the Asian Green City Index.
Peter Weiss, president and chief executive of Siemens Taiwan, which commissioned the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) to conduct the research project, said the study compared 22 major Asian cities in eight categories in terms of their environmental performance and policies.
Taipei ranked above average in the overall result along with Hong Kong, Osaka, Seoul, Tokyo and Yokohama, and also placed above average in seven of the eight categories, he said at a press conference yesterday.
Taipei had the second-best energy consumption rate and the third-longest superior transportation network in the index. Among high-income cities, Taipei had the second-lowest per capita waste rate per year and the second lowest daily sulfur dioxide level, he said.
“The efforts of the city government in shaping a sustainable future have paid off,” Weiss said. “The citizens can be very happy and proud of living in the city of Taipei.”
On a personal note, Weiss said he and his family had been living in Asia for 15 years and really enjoyed living in Taipei.
The only sour note was in the water category, where the per capita consumption per day by Taipei residents was higher than the average and the leakage rate was also high at 22 percent, he said.
To address the problem, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), who was present at the press conference, said that while raising water fees was not an option at the moment, the city would take a two-prong approach by promoting economic water usage and reducing the leakage rate to less than 10 percent.
To that end, Hau said the city would spend NT$6.5 billion (US$220.7 million) to replace 625km of water mains, adding that the city had already spent NT$5.5 billion replacing 627km of piping.
While water consumption for industrial purposes rose 30 percent, Hau said he hoped businesses would consider recycling water.
Weiss said similar studies were conducted in Europe in 2009 and Latin American last year.
By commissioning the study, they hope to show that technology can help bring sustainable development. It was not conducted with corporate interests in mind, he said.
“We want to show where individual cities stand compared to each other and help them identify areas of improvement,” he said. “It is not a study made by Siemens, but commissioned by Siemens and done by [the] EIU, which is an independent body.”