Whistle-blowers who report activities that lead to river pollution -- such as illegal dumping or gravel quarrying -- may receive a reward of up to NT$120,000.
The Water Resource Department under the Ministry of Economic Affairs announced the rewards yesterday. The idea to pay informants was developed by the economics ministry and the Environmental Protection Administration.
Under the government's plan, whistle-blowers who report any illegal dumping of hazardous waste in the special "buffer zone" of a river would receive NT$120,000. Those who report dumping outside the zone would collect NT$60,000.
For reporting illegal dumping of household waste in river buffer zones, whistle-blowers will receive NT$10,000, while the payout for reporting waste dumped outside the zone would be NT$5,000.
When it comes to reporting the illegal dredging of a riverbed, officials said whistle-blowers would receive a NT$100,000 reward.
In July last year, truck drivers hired by a licensed waste handler discharged more than 100 tonnes of chemical solvents into the Kaoping River (高屏溪) -- one of the main sources of drinking water in southern Taiwan.
The discharge caused serious water pollution and left millions of residents without tap water for days.
In the following month, a main bridge crossing the river suddenly collapsed, resulting in several casualties. The accident was due to the loss of gravel in the riverbed after years of illegal quarrying.
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