A group of environmentalists protested in front of the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) in Taipei yesterday morning against a policy of using waste material for land reclamation to be included into a national regional plan.
The protest took place before a public hearing on regional environmental protection facility planning was held at the EPA.
Members of the Taiwan Water Resources Protection Union said the regional environmental protection facility plans would be included into the amended version of the Ministry of the Interior’s National Regional Plan, so they demand that an evaluation be conducted and concerns about land reclamation policies must be clarified before making any conclusions.
Union board member Wu Li-hui (吳麗慧) said that according to the EPA’s draft plan, the size of land reclamation is 877.7 hectares, so it is most likely to encompass projects that have already used waste as filling material in land reclamation, including partial areas of Changhua Coastal Industrial Park and an expanded area of the South Star Plan project near Kaohsiung Harbor.
“We are worried that using coal ashes, furnace slag and other hazardous wastes for landfill may contaminate the ground water,” she said.
Taiwan Healthy Air Action Alliance board member Yang Joe-ming (楊澤民) said the solid waste materials allowed for land reclamation in Japan are different from those allowed in Taiwan.
He said studies have shown that heavy metal substances can contaminate groundwater, when coal ashes, furnace bottom ashes, sludge and other hazardous wastes are used for land reclamation.
They urged the agency to address these concerns before including the policy in the plan, and also suggested that public hearing be held in Changhua and Greater Kaohsiung’s Siaogang District (小港) for local residents to attend.