Thu, Apr 17, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Environmentalists protest Changhua industrial plan

TOXIC PARK:Activists say an industrial park planned in Dacheng would threaten farmland and drinking water in an area prone to land subsidence and water shortages

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Several environmentalists staged a rally outside the Environmental Protection Administration in Taipei yesterday afternoon to protest against planned construction of an industrial park in Dacheng Township (大城), Changhua County, which they say will damage high-quality farmland and possibly contaminate groundwater in the area.

The Taiwan Water Resources Protection Union said the Ministry of Economic Affairs is planning to construct a 25.61 hectare park on farmland owned by the Taiwan Sugar Corp tailored toward companies that make plastic and metal products, food, building materials, textile and other products.

The union said it fears that these industries will introduce heavy metal and volatile organic pollutants to nearby farmland, as well as air and groundwater in the area, adding that it wants the environmental impact assessment (EIA) general assembly to reject the plan.

A previous EIA specialists’ meeting made two suggestions to the general assembly in November last year — to either submit the plan to an EIA second review or approve it.

“About 80 percent of the tap water in Changhua is groundwater drawn from deep wells,” Taiwan Water Resources Protection Union spokesperson Wu Li-huei (吳麗慧) said.

Wu added that land subsidence and water shortages are already serious problems in the area, so industries that have high water demands and generate a lot of pollution should not be allowed there.

Wu said the plan’s EIA report claimed that the park would recycle all of its wastewater, but the water would actually be used for washing streets or else dumped into nearby reservoirs, and would most likely permeate through the soil and contaminate the groundwater.

Changhua County Environmental Protection Union secretary-general Shih Yueh-ying (施月英) said the park would produce 5,320kg of general waste, 280kg of which would be toxic. That is a very large amount for an area that is already seriously polluted, Shih said.

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