Sat, Dec 02, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Lai open to readjustment of pollution fund, he says

WRONG PARAMETERS:Sixty percent of taxes on industrial air pollution are divided between localities, but the relative severity of pollution is not considered

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Premier William Lai (賴清德) yesterday said that he is open to discussions about a proposal to distribute the government’s air pollution control fund based on the amount of airborne pollutants in an area, rather than its population.

Lai made the remark on the sidelines of an exhibition opening in Taipei, amid growing public pressure on the government to address the air pollution problem after smog on Wednesday engulfed the western half of Taiwan.

“There are many sources of air pollution,” Lai said.

In Taiwan’s case, one third of air pollution comes from mobile sources, such as automobiles and motorcycles, and one third from stationery sources and industrial facilities, Lai said, adding that thermal power plants only account for 2.9 percent of Taiwan’s pollution.

The remaining one-third mostly comes from other countries, particularly China, Lai said.

Asked about the possibility of distributing the pollution fund based on the amount of pollutants in an area, Lai said that if local governments asked for the distribution method to be changed, he would instruct the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) to investigate the matter based on sources of pollutants, population and other factors.

The fund, which was set up in 1995 under the Air Pollution Control Act (空氣污染防制法), is replenished with air pollution control taxes imposed on stationary and mobile pollution sources.

For stationary pollution sources, the government collects a tax based on the amount of pollutants — mainly sulphur oxides, nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds — emitted by private and public facilities.

Forty percent of the taxes on stationary pollution sources goes to the central government, while the rest is divided between local governments.

As for sources of mobile pollution, a fee of NT$0.3 and NT$0.4 is charged per liter of gasoline and diesel, respectively.

According to statistics compiled by the EPA, the government on average collects NT$4 billion for the fund per year.

By May it had collected NT$1.47 billion.

This story has been viewed 3432 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top