The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) has found 29 plots of rice farmland in Changhua County, comprising about 4.5 hectares, to be contaminated by heavy metals.
The farmland found to contain heavy metals, including chromium, zinc, copper and nickel, is located in Homei (和美), Sioushuei (秀水) and Pusin (埔心) townships.
The Changhua Environmental Protection Bureau said that because first-season rice harvested from those plots has been destroyed and growing new crops on them is now banned, the affected farmers can receive compensation, as well as fallow farmland subsidies.
However, one farmer surnamed Wang (王) said that he is worried that now that his farmland has been polluted by heavy metals, future crops grown from that land will be stigmatized even after soil remediation is completed, and his crops may have to be examined every season.
A few farmers were upset that they were not informed immediately and had already planted new rice on the land.
Many rice paddies in Changhua were found to be contaminated by cadmium in 2006, and because heavy metal substances are once again being found in the area, the EPA plans to expand its soil examination project on farmland in nearby areas.
“We suspect the source of the pollutants to be metal surface treatment companies nearby, and we will cooperate with the EPA to track those sources and punish them according to the law,” bureau Deputy Director Pai Chi-jung (白智榮) said.
“Based on the Soil Pollution and Groundwater Pollution Remediation Act (土壤及地下水污染整治法), we have already provided compensation to the farmers for the crop damage and have destroyed the contaminated crops so they do not reach the market,” he added.