The Kaohsiung City Government forced Yunlin and Taitung counties to receive its furnace slag in exchange for helping them to burn waste, an environmentalist told a forum in Taipei yesterday.
The forum on air pollution and waste disposal was part of the Taiwan Environmental Protection Union’s 30th anniversary celebrations.
A “garbage war” between counties and cities has resulted in the irresponsible transportation of furnace slag,, Taiwan Watch Institute secretary-general Herlin Hsieh (謝和霖) said.
The city government had previously asked for NT$2,308 per tonne of trash to be burned, Hsieh said.
Last year, it promised to burn other counties’ trash for free, on one condition: One tonne of trash would be exchanged for 1.8 tonnes of “product” — or furnace slag, he said.
Yunlin and Taitung counties have built their own incinerators, but have not launched them due to environmental concerns, he said.
The slag from Kaohsiung was used to fill a park in Taitung after blending it with sand and soil, he said.
However, slag may only be used to fill roads or construction sites, according to the Waste Incinerator Slag Disposal and Recycling Act (垃圾焚化廠焚化底渣再利用管理方式), he said.
According to the Waste Disposal Act (廢棄物清理法), “waste” is the result of a production process and has no economic or market value.
“Clearly, slag is of no value. Why did the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) not identify slag as waste?” Hsieh asked. “Otherwise, the Kaohsiung City Government should recycle the slag for better use,” he said.
“Half of the trash burned in Kaohsiung City and Pingtung County is kitchen waste,” he said, adding that the EPA should improve its management of the 24 waste incinerators nationwide.
EPA Department of Waste Management Interim Director-General Lai Ying-ying (賴瑩瑩) said the department is revising its regulations about the classification, treatment and usage of slag.
“We will publish a draft amendment this month and will hold a public hearing to collect opinions,” Lai said.
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