A government project to clean up Erjen River (二仁溪) in the south has yielded positive results, with pollution levels sharply down at the river running through Greater Kaohsiung and Greater Tainan, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said yesterday.
Hsu Yung-hsing (許永興), director-general of the Department of Water Quality Protection, said that pollution, which ran the entire length of the river in 2003, had dropped to 32.4 percent of its area as of last year, proving that preliminary measures taken to clean it up were effective.
Erjen had long been regarded as one of the most hazardous rivers in the country because of the amount of industrial waste in it.
Photo: Huang Po-lang, Taipei Times
Now, however, fish had started to reappear in the river, which Hsu said was a good indicator of the improvement in water quality and wetland restoration along the river.
Inspection reports carried out this year also showed that the amount of lead found in the water had also decreased to a level considered safe, he said.
Before the treatment of the river began in 2003, the river was contaminated with heavy metals, such as lead and copper, at levels well above acceptable standards.
The heavy pollution was mainly the result of the dumping of solid toxic metal waste, ashes from burning waste metal and industrial sewage from smelting factories along the river. Hog farms, household sewage and other factories along the river also contributed to the severe pollution.
Wei Wen-Yi (魏文宜), a senior executive officer at department, said that integrated work and cooperation between various central and local government agencies to clean up the river is scheduled to be completed by 2013.
A budget of NT$10.8 billion (US$376 million) has been allocated for the cleanup, and NT$2.2 billion has been used since 2008 to remove toxic waste metal dumped along the river.
One of the key points of the river remediation project is to establish a sewage treatment system to deal with 120,000 tonnes of household wastewater, Wei said, adding that the sewage system design contract had already been signed by the Construction and Planning Agency and was scheduled for completion in 2014.
The Water Resources Agency is constructing a riverbank to prevent flood disasters during rainy season and is scheduled for completion in 2013.
The Council of Agriculture is also talking to pig farmers about waste disposal. Hsu said pig toilets could be designed to reduce pollution, and pig manure could be turned into compost or biofuel.
Aside from government efforts, 29 patrol teams organized by civic groups have helped safeguard the river over the years, Hsu said.
He said the scouts had been very helpful in reporting illegal conduct such as the discharging of industrial wastewater.
The EPA will invite central and local government officials, as well as civic groups, to visit and see the preliminary results of the river treatment project on Thursday.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday found four men guilty of attempted murder in the 2017 stabbing of Spanish surfer Ignacio Prio on a Pingtung County beach in the final ruling in the case, sentencing them to three-and-a-half to six years in prison. The defendants had appealed their convictions for attempted murder in the first and second rulings, which had also led to prison sentences ranging from three-and-a-half years to six years. The then-42-year-old Prio went to Jialeshui Beach (佳樂水) near Kenting (墾丁) on March 31, 2017, was attacked after he asked four men to remove their fishing lines from an area
‘IMMORAL, INSINCERE’: Huang Kun-huei said that Ma was ‘distorting history’ in claiming that Lee Teng-hui laid the foundation for the so-called ‘1992 consensus’ Former Presidential Office secretary-general Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) on Saturday rejected former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) claim that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had been a proponent of Beijing’s “one China” principle. Lee, who served as president from 1988 to 2000, died in Taipei on Thursday last week. After visiting the Taipei Guest House on Saturday to pay his respects to Lee, Ma posted on Facebook that “28 years ago on this day” Lee hosted a session of the now-defunct National Unification Council, during which he passed a resolution on the “one China” principle. That resolution became the basis of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s
NEW ERA: Taiwan, which has controlled its virus outbreak, now faces the challenge of safely resuming economic exchanges with other nations, Chang Shan-chwen said People should not focus entirely on having zero new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Taiwan, but neglect overall control over the disease situation, Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) specialist advisory panel convener Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) said yesterday. Chang made the remark at a forum in Taipei discussing the steps Taiwan should take in the post-pandemic era, organized by the Chinese-language magazine Global Views Monthly. Chang, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩), and Stanford University’s Center for Policy, Outcomes and Prevention director C. Jason Wang (王智弘) each made a presentation, followed by a panel discussion with Chang, Wang and Buddhist Tzu
ANOTHER IMPORT: A Filipina who arrived on Friday to visit family developed a fever on Saturday and test results yesterday were positive, making her Taiwan’s 465th case The government’s real-name mask purchasing system is to be continued until at least the end of the year, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, as it reported a new imported COVID-19 case from the Philippines. The center would continue to requisition mask production to ensure people can buy masks using the real-name system until the end of December, said Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), the CECC’s spokesman. While the CECC requisitions about 8 million masks per day to ensure there are enough for the real-name system, more than 10 million masks are produced per day