The Environmental Protection Administration’s (EPA) garbage incineration policy has come under fire from environmental groups, who said that the processing of industrial waste is being prioritized over household waste and is contributing to the garbage crisis in central and southern municipalities.
Taiwan Watch Institute secretary-general Herlin Hsieh (謝和霖) said EPA policy benefits incineration plant operators by allowing them to accept industrial waste, adding that operators can charge more for the processing of industrial waste.
The EPA has constructed 26 incineration plants under its “one incineration plant for each municipality” policy, but one plant in Taitung County and another in Yunlin County have yet to start operation.
The overall design capacity of the 24 plants in operation is 24,650 tonnes of garbage per day, while those plants actually process 17,245 tonnes — including household and industrial waste — every day, the EPA said, adding that the processing of household garbage accounts for 45.68 percent of the design capacity.
Hsieh said that with about 55 percent of the design capacity not being utilized, the garbage crisis should never have happened.
“The problem lies with the EPA’s decisionmaking and its inability to coordinate local governments, while it allows plants designed for processing household garbage to accept industrial waste,” he said.
Incineration plants can earn more than NT$1,000 for every tonne of household garbage from other municipalities that they process, while they can earn between NT$1,500 and more than NT$2,000 for processing 1 tonne of industrial waste, making industrial waste more attractive, Hsieh said.
He said that there are three privately managed plants, five public plants and 16 other facilities constructed by the EPA that have been transferred to local governments and run by private companies.
“The 21 government-funded plants should prioritize household garbage over industrial waste, instead of benefiting plant operators at the taxpayers’ expense,” he said.
The institute called for the establishment of a minimum processing fee for industrial waste, as a Kaohsiung plant charged only about NT$400 per tonne for industrial waste and broke down after excessive and untreated trash was dumped at the plant.
“The EPA should collect and redistribute all the earnings of the 24 plants to compensate those plants that mostly process household garbage as a more efficient incineration policy,” Hsieh said.
Citizen of the Earth office director Tsai Chung-yueh (蔡中岳) said the government is strict about household garbage management with the “per bag trash collection fee” to reduce garbage, but it continues to offer discounted processing fees to private companies, which are unlikely to reduce their garbage output if the processing fee does not rise.
Bureau of Environmental Inspection Director-General Hsiao Ching-lang (蕭清郎) said the 24 plants processed 6.42 million tonnes of garbage last year, 65 percent of which was household garbage and 35 percent industrial waste, which was a regular distribution between the two types of trash.
He said industrial waste could crowd out the space for household garbage, as the processing cost of public incineration plants is lower than private incinerators — usually with a capacity of 100 tonnes per day.
However, each plant belongs to a local government, and it is up to the local governments to designate trash processing fees, he said.
PILLAGING PENGHU: A 7,539-tonne Chinese ship found mining sand in the Formosa Banks area was escorted by several CGA ships to a Kaohsiung harbor The Coast Guard Administration (CGA) yesterday announced that it had dispatched ships to intercept Chinese dredging vessels operating in the nation’s territorial waters near Penghu and detained 10 crew members, who were transported to Kaohsiung. A coast guard patrol discovered more than 20 dredging vessels in an area known as the Formosa Banks, 46 nautical miles (85km) southwest of Penghu County’s Cimei islet (七美) at about 5am on Wednesday. The agency responded by dispatching two patrol boats, the 3,000-tonne Kaohsiung and the 500-tonne Penghu, along with two frigates, to intercept the Chinese vessels, while an airborne observation unit was used to monitor
‘HONEYMOON’ IS OVER: A political science professor said that the Tsai administration’s popularity peaked after it successfully contained COVID-19, but is waning President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) and Premier Su Tseng-chang’s (蘇貞昌) approval ratings fell significantly this month in the wake of the government’s handling of the distribution of relief funds and stimulus coupons to people and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, a poll released yesterday by the New Power Party (NPP) showed. The poll showed that 68 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with Tsai’s performance, down 8.9 percentage points from last month, while 21 percent said they disapproved of her performance. Her approval among respondents aged 20 to 29 fell 14.7 percentage points, the largest decrease when compared with other age
CAUTION: The CECC would first observe how the nation fares after easing domestic restrictions and wait for the pandemic to further subside before making its next move The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said that relaxing domestic restrictions and border controls simultaneously might complicate efforts to reopen the nation, amid discussions about Taiwan’s exclusion by other countries in their first lists of tourists. The center hopes for there to be a period of observation following the easing of domestic restrictions, before it decides what to do next, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, told a daily news briefing in Taipei. Chen was responding to a question about the reasoning behind the central government’s decision not to allow foreign students into the
Taiwan respects other countries’ decisions not to include it in their first lists of tourists allowed entry when they reopen their borders, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. The Yomiuri Shimbun on Sunday reported that the Japanese government was considering reopening the country to tourists from Thailand, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand first. Greece on Friday announced that from June 15, it would allow visitors from 29 countries, including Australia, China, the Czech Republic, Japan, Israel, New Zealand, South Korea and Germany. Japan has not yet finalized its visitor list, but the ministry has conveyed its hope that Tokyo would