Environmentalists yesterday protested in front of the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) against the discharge of toxic wastewater from high-tech industries in the fourth-phase expansion project at the Central Taiwan Science Park (CTSP) and called for a 100 percent wastewater recycling mechanism.
“The fourth-phase CTSP steals our water and discharges toxic waste,” representatives from more than a dozen environmental protection associations shouted outside the agency, before a meeting of specialists to conduct an environmental impact assessment of fourth-phase wastewater -discharge plans.
The developer presented a plan to discharge industrial wastewater into the ocean near the mouth of Jhuoshuei River (濁水溪), through an underground pipe that will pass close to four villages, and eventually discharge 8km from shore and 20m underwater.
The developer said simulations indicated that the wastewater would be well dispersed and would not pollute coastal aquaculture.
Changhua Environmental Protection Union secretary-general Shih Yueh-ying (施月英) said research showed that the unique geological features of the seabed off the coast of Changhua County causes sea currents from the north and south to slow down, so “if pollutants are discharged in the area, they will basically remain in the area.”
She said the wetlands along the Chuanhua County coast are an important habitat for many wild animals and crustaceans, such as oysters, and if toxic wastewater was discharged in the area, it would pollute the wetlands.
Citizen of the Earth Foundation member Lu Yi-chi (呂翊齊) said that although water sources and wastewater emissions at the fourth-phase CTSP project have been debated for years, the developer has been unable to answer a number of basic questions.
“What toxic chemicals will be contained in the released -wastewater and what will the long-term effects be? We want to know what exactly is going to be in the wastewater, instead of promises from the developer that it will not contain certain highly toxic chemicals” he said.
As the cumulative effects of various toxic substances have yet to be determined, the task of pollution management would be even more difficult, Lu added.
Erlin (二林) Anti-Pollution Self-Help Association director Chou Ming-wen (周明文) said that if permission was given for the toxic wastewater to be discharged, residents would find themselves eating and drinking poison from their crops and water.
He called on the developer and committee members to review the project thoroughly before making a decision.
“We farmers can quit farming and even put up with the fact that our irrigation water has been diverted to the science park, but we do not want to be poisoned by discharged toxic wastewater,” he said.
Lin Lien-tsung (林連宗), -secretary-general of the Fangyuan Self-Help Association in Changhua County, said the farmland in Erlin Township was designated a “top quality agricultural district” during the Japanese colonial era, so the government should consider developing the area into a “Agricultural Science Park,” instead of destroying the environment by introducing high-pollution industries into the area.
The groups urged the developer to allow only those companies able to operate with a low water supply, minimal pollution and who are able to fully recycle toxic wastewater to establish plants in the park.