Fri, Apr 10, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Control Yuan opens probe into shoreline waste from China

TIDAL DEBRIS:Residents of Kinmen and Matsu have complained about used hypodermic needles and other medical waste washing up on beaches

By Lee Hsin-fang and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The Control Yuan is to launch an investigation over medical waste from China washing up on beaches in Kinmen and Lienchiang counties to assess security and environmental concerns, Control Yuan member Pao Tsung-ho (包宗和) said.

The problem is becoming more serious with each passing day, Pao said.

We hope by the results of our investigation to call Beijing’s attention to the issue and launch negotiations via the Straits Exchange Foundation and China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) to resolve the problem together, Pao said.

According to Control Yuan member Wang Mei-yu (王美玉), materials floating in from China include used hypodermic needles and empty medical containers, which endanger Kinmen residents.

Wang said that the Control Yuan received a call from a representative for Beigan Township (北竿) residents in Matsu County, saying that trash on the island was piled up higher than a person, adding that it was an intolerable situation.

Despite representatives repeatedly bringing the issue to the Chinese government’s attention, with Kinmen and Matsu both sending officials to China’s Fujian Province to talk about the matter and urge the Chinese to stop dumping trash in the sea, the Matsu residents have not received a reply, Wang said.

Pao, Wang and Chiang Chi-wen (江綺雯) said they visited the area and decided to make the investigation an official case in the Control Yuan because of the severity of the situation.

Trash dumped into the sea is affected by the season, ocean currents and the lay of the land where it washes up, Chiang said, adding that while most of the trash on Kinmen and Matsu originated from China’s Fujian Province, there was some that appeared to have drifted from as far as away as Heilongjiang Province.

We hope that the matter could be discussed by the foundation and ARATS and a resolution reached, Chiang said.

The trash that is blighting the shorelines of Kinmen and Matsu is affecting tourism, Wang said, adding that Kinmen residents collect the trash and send it to Kaohsiung to be incinerated.

The Mainland Affairs Council is obligated to work through the foundation and communicate with ARATS to find a resolution to the matter, Pao said, adding that he hoped Beijing would take this matter seriously and instruct the Fujian provincial government to work with Taiwan to resolve the issue.

Meanwhile, other Control Yuan officials said that the matter has been listed by both the foundation and the ARATS for preliminary talks, but they were not sure when such talks would be held.

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