At a public hearing on the drafted Resource Recycling Act (資源循環利用法) at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday, environmental groups urged the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) to delete an article that would authorize land reclamation plans.
The EPA’s proposed Resource Recycling Act would combine the regulations of two current acts — the Resource Recycling and Reuse Act (資源回收再利用法) and the Waste Disposal Act (廢棄物清理法).
Article 17 of the act stipulates that the central government should work with industry competent authorities to set up policies or plans, and to plan for noncombustible waste resources — that are not harmful and are stable — to be used for expansion development projects at harbor areas or filling for land reclamation at coastal industrial parks.
The EPA’s explanation document for the article said it explicitly sets the legal authority for land reclamation, the location for land reclamation and selection mechanism for the filling substances, operation of the appropriate treatment of the filling substances before they are used as filling, and the responding measures if the land reclamation causes pollution or affects the ecology.
“It is dangerous for land reclamation to be allowed by the law when it has not even been reviewed through a strategic environmental assessment procedure,” Tainan Community University researcher Wu Jen-pang (吳仁邦) said.
Chen Chiao-hua (陳椒華), spokeswoman for the Taiwan Alliance for the Protection of Water Resources, said the article should be omitted because it did not clearly define what is considered “not harmful,” and that Greater Kaohsiung’s South Star Plan land reclamation project has already led to high levels of arsenic in the area’s groundwater.
EPA Department of Waste Management director Wu Tien-chi (吳天基) said his agency tries to stipulate land reclamation regulations in the draft act because current laws lack sufficient regulations and that it hopes other industry competent authorities would set related policy plans based on the act.