The total allowable air pollutant emission levels in the Changhua Coastal Industrial Park are to be reduced and stricter air pollutant emission standards are to be set for industries in the park, the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) general assembly meeting decided yesterday.
The meeting also cut the standards for pollutants including sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, suspended particulates and particulate matter to at least half of the original standards, and included emissions from eastern Lunwei (崙尾東區) into the total emission level.
However, several environmental protection groups called on the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) to reject the case in the meeting, which was called to review the park’s response strategies to air pollution impacts.
Wu Li-huei (吳麗慧) of the Taiwan Water Resources Protection Union said the air quality in Greater Taichung and Changhua has been very bad. The EPA’s air quality monitoring data between September last year and last month showed that the concentration levels of fine particle PM2.5 (particles under 2.5 micrometers in diameter) exceeded the regulated standards nearly every day.
She said the WHO has already listed PM2.5 as a group 1 carcinogens, therefore the park should not be allowed to develop any more air-polluting industries, and if the EIA allows air pollutant emissions from the Changhua Coal-fired Power Plant to be excluded, it will encourage the expansion of polluting industries.
Changhua Christian Hospital gynecologist and Taiwan Healthy Air Action Alliance founder Yeh Guang-peng (葉光芃) said Chaiyi, Changhua and Yunlin counties have the highest lung cancer rates in western Taiwan, so increased emissions of air pollutants should not be allowed in these areas.
The activists urged the EPA to first set a total emission standard for central Taiwan before setting a standard for the specific industrial park.
They added that the water usage in development areas should also be considered, because water shortages are a serious problem in the Changhua area.
EPA Minister Stephen Shen (沈世宏) said the administration has already set the total emission standards for each area, but they have not yet been approved by the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Industrial Development Bureau.