Sat, Nov 04, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Kinmen to solve Chinese trash fix

SEABORNE DEBRIS:The EPA has changed its position and is allowing trash to be shipped back to China, while Kinmen and Taiwan Affairs Office officials continue talks

By Wu Cheng-ting, Lin Hsin-han and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

Recent exchanges between the Kinmen County Government and China’s Taiwan Affairs Office branches in Xiamen City and Fujian Province could, if approved by Taiwan’s Environmental Protection Administration (EPA), provide a solution to trash originating from China that washes up onto the shores of Kinmen, Matsu and Penghu, the county government said.

Kinmen Environmental Protection Bureau Director Lu Ching-fu (呂清富) on Thursday said that the branch offices in both locations have offered to assist in handling the seaborne trash.

If approved by the EPA, the county government plans to visit Xiamen and Fujian for further talks, with preliminary plans that Kinmen would help gather all the trash while the Chinese would ship the trash back, Lu said, adding that such an exchange must ultimately receive the approval of the Taiwan Affairs Office.

This could provide a new model for cross-strait trash treatment, Kinmen County Councilor Chen Tsang-chiang (陳滄江) said.

By law, if offshore counties determine that trash washing up on its shores was not produced locally, they retain the right to demand the original source, in this case China, handle and transport the trash back to its own treatment plants, Chen said.

The county cited statistics showing that at least 1,800 tonnes of trash washes up on the shores of Kinmen, Matsu and Penghu per year, with additional expenses running into the tens of millions of New Taiwan dollars.

Kinmen saw at least 500 tonnes of the trash, which now includes large construction waste mixed among the usual bottles and cans, the county government said.

The county’s previous appeal to ship the waste back to China was denied, as the Waste Disposal Act (廢棄物清理法) and the Act Managing the Import and Export of Waste Produced by Businesses (事業廢棄物輸入輸出管理辦法) prohibit import or export of waste and slag, Lu said.

The EPA has relented and stated that trash may be shipped back to China if the local government arrives at a consensus with its Chinese counterparts, Lu said, adding that all expenses incurred would not be subsidized by the central government.

The EPA has already approved a five-year plan with a budget of NT$400 million (US$13.26 million) to help the three counties clean up trash and waste littered along their coast and littoral areas.

Lienchiang County Commissioner Liu Tseng-ying (劉增應) said he was glad to see this development and hoped to step up cross-strait cooperation on the matter.

Lienchiang County spends NT$18 million to process the 300 to 400 tonnes of trash that washes up on its shores.

Additional reporting by Yang Mien-chieh

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