Five factories get fines
Five electroplating factories in Changhua County have been fined more than NT$52 million (US$1.7 million) for releasing industrial wastewater into irrigation channels, the county’s Environmental Protection Bureau said. The five companies polluted 278 hectares of farm land with the wastewater, bureau director Liu Yu-ping (劉玉平) said, based on evidence collected by prosecutors who dug up pipelines around the factories. While the county government launched a farmland treatment program in 2002 to combat high levels of pollution in the area, Liu said compensation can only be sought for a maximum period of five years. Fines of NT$49 million levied on the factories cover costs starting in 2009. Combined with additional fines for damaging crops, the fines amount to NT$52.79 million. The companies are also required to propose a plan to treat 44 hectares of last year’s pollution-damaged first rice crop. Failing that, the government will take care of the treatment and send the bill to the offending factories, Liu said.
Cosplayers can win prizes
The Taipei Game Show, an annual videogame exhibition, is to feature a cosplay competition for the first time at this year’s event, offering prizes including popular tech gear for fans dressed up as their favorite fictional characters. Applications to enter the competition opened on Tuesday and will run through Wednesday next week, the Taipei Computer Association said. The best costume will be awarded a Sony Xperia Z Ultra smartphone, while the contestant who receives the most votes in an online poll will get NT$3,000 in department store gift certificates, the association said. Prizes will also be awarded in several other categories.