Environmental cooperation on show

LONG HISTORY::An exhibition on joint environmental protection efforts shows how the US has helped Taiwan to fight pollution and become a regional leader in the field

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Sat, Jun 22, 2013 - Page 4

An exhibition showing the history of Taiwan-US cooperation on environmental protection matters over the past two decades organized by the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) was opened at the SPOT Taipei Film House (光點台北) yesterday morning.

The history between the administration and the US Environmental Protection Agency began when a cooperation agreement on environmental protection skills was signed between the Coordination Council of North American Affairs and the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) in 1993.

EPA Minister Stephen Shen (沈世宏) said at the opening ceremony that more than 190 cooperation projects were jointly conducted by the two agencies in the past 20 years and many skills and experiences had been learned from the US, and the abundant data should be kept for people’s reference.

Shen said that in the past there were a number of serious pollution problems across the nation, such as the infamous green oysters found in rivers due to copper wastewater being discharged in rivers by the electronics industry.

In the early years of their cooperation the Taiwanese administration did not have a lot of personnel and the US agency provided the necessary assistance to enable the EPA to establish an institutional management system for monitoring and improving the environment through scientific methods, he added.

AIT Director Christopher Marut said the US has helped Taiwan to improve its air, soil and water quality, and now Taiwan has become a cooperation partner assisting other nations to improve their environment.

Praising the efforts that Taiwan has made to comply with international environmental standards “despite limited access to international organizations,” Marut said the AIT would work hard to support Taiwan’s meaningful participation in organizations like the International Renewable Energy Agency.

Marut said Taiwan’s EPA has become a leader in environmental protection throughout the region and, increasingly, the world.

“For example, when experts on the proper handling of electronic waste in Taiwan discuss their experiences in international workshops, people sit up and pay attention,” he said.

“The demands for Taiwan’s increasing engagement in international environmental protection will only get stronger,” Marut said, adding that the AIT is looking forward to continue its role of facilitating and strengthening environmental cooperation between the peoples of the US and Taiwan in the decade ahead.

The exhibition is scheduled to run through Tuesday next week. The public is invited to attend the event to understand the important environmental protection policies in Taiwan, as well as the cooperation between the two nations on this aspect.

Additional reporting by Shih Hsiu-chuan