The government is considering amending laws to regulate or ban the Color Run or similar events on account of the pollution it may cause to the environment, Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) Minister Stephen Sheng (沈世宏) said yesterday.
The 5km race, in which runners are showered with colored powder along the run, debuted in Taiwan last month. However, it generated controversy recently as the organizer was found sweeping the colored powder directly into the Keelung River after the race was over.
The Taipei City Government’s Department of Environmental Protection then fined the Taipei organizer NT$70,000 for causing river pollution.
Sheng briefed the lawmakers on the legislature’s Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee on the operations of the EPA, who expressed concern over the pollution generated by the event.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Wang Yu-ming (王育敏) said the government should take forceful action to restrict or ban the event if the substance could pollute the environment and hurt people’s health.
Sheng said a granule of the colored powder was about 16 micrometers in size and therefore unlikely to be breathed into someone’s windpipe or bronchi under normal circumstances.
However, he said that Color Run participants have to breathe heavily when running and could breathe in the powder.
“Some people may also consider it visual pollution when they see bright and shiny colored powder,” Sheng said. “When people wash the colored powder off their bodies and clothes, the runoff will flow into the river and contaminate it.”
Given that the Color Run would have such a negative impact on the environment, Sheng said that the agency would work with local governments to regulate this type of event.
Sheng said that the EPA has a manual to determine if an event is environmentally-friendly, and that it gives an organizer advice on how to lower the event’s impact on the environment.
He said the agency could also include restrictions in the manual for holding similar events.