Fri, Apr 15, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Expansion plan criticized

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter

Members of the Taiwan Water Resources Protection Union yesterday protest against a plan to expand the Tainan Science Park outside the Environmental Protection Administration in Taipei.

Photo: Yang Mien-chieh, Taipei Times

Environmentalists yesterday criticized a proposed expansion of Tainan Science Park, saying excessive water and electricity consumption following the expansion would damage agriculture and increase air pollution.

The park, which accounts for about one-third of Tainan’s electricity consumption, plans to increase its daily maximum electricity consumption by 46 percent to 2.22 million kilowatts — about 40 percent of the capacity of the Taichung Power Plant, the world’s largest coal-fired power plant.

The park also plans to increase its daily water consumption by 25 percent to 250,000m3, about half of which is to be supplied from local irrigation systems until a planned water reclamation plant is completed.

The increase in power and water consumption is required for new manufacturing processes developed by wafer plants in the park, including those of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, according to the developer.

The plan yesterday sparked heated criticism during its review at the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) in Taipei.

“There is nothing transparent about the development of Tainan Science Park. The expansion plan has never been revealed in detail, but the park just asked for more electricity and water without revealing which plants will use how much power and water,” Taiwan Water Resources Protection Union spokeswoman Chen Jiau-hua (陳椒華) said.

“Arsenic levels at schools near the science park are too high, but the park will not reveal what pollutants it produces or its treatment plan,” she added.

The developer should not vie for water with farmers, which would worsen the effects of prolonged droughts in central and southern Taiwan, union director Jennifer Nien (粘麗玉) said, adding that the government should prioritize agricultural water use over industrial use.

Taiwan Healthy Air Action Alliance director Yang Joe-ming (楊澤民) said many of the materials used to produce semiconductors and flat-panel displays are carcinogenic, and the manufacturing process produces toxic compounds and trace heavy metals, such as arsenic, that contribute to air and water pollution.

The Ministry of Science and Technology promised to propose a master plan on the establishment or expansion of science parks and to carry out the plan’s environmental review with the EPA, but the master plan is still being devised, Yang said.

“We suspect that the government has kept delaying the master plan so that controversial projects can be approved,” he said. “We demand that reviews of science parks be halted until the master plan and its environmental review are completed.”

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