The Environmental Protection Administration’s (EPA) garbage incineration policy has come under fire from environmental groups, who said that the processing of industrial waste is being prioritized over household waste and is contributing to the garbage crisis in central and southern municipalities.
Taiwan Watch Institute secretary-general Herlin Hsieh (謝和霖) said EPA policy benefits incineration plant operators by allowing them to accept industrial waste, adding that operators can charge more for the processing of industrial waste.
The EPA has constructed 26 incineration plants under its “one incineration plant for each municipality” policy, but one plant in Taitung County and another in Yunlin County have yet to start operation.
The overall design capacity of the 24 plants in operation is 24,650 tonnes of garbage per day, while those plants actually process 17,245 tonnes — including household and industrial waste — every day, the EPA said, adding that the processing of household garbage accounts for 45.68 percent of the design capacity.
Hsieh said that with about 55 percent of the design capacity not being utilized, the garbage crisis should never have happened.
“The problem lies with the EPA’s decisionmaking and its inability to coordinate local governments, while it allows plants designed for processing household garbage to accept industrial waste,” he said.
Incineration plants can earn more than NT$1,000 for every tonne of household garbage from other municipalities that they process, while they can earn between NT$1,500 and more than NT$2,000 for processing 1 tonne of industrial waste, making industrial waste more attractive, Hsieh said.
He said that there are three privately managed plants, five public plants and 16 other facilities constructed by the EPA that have been transferred to local governments and run by private companies.
“The 21 government-funded plants should prioritize household garbage over industrial waste, instead of benefiting plant operators at the taxpayers’ expense,” he said.
The institute called for the establishment of a minimum processing fee for industrial waste, as a Kaohsiung plant charged only about NT$400 per tonne for industrial waste and broke down after excessive and untreated trash was dumped at the plant.
“The EPA should collect and redistribute all the earnings of the 24 plants to compensate those plants that mostly process household garbage as a more efficient incineration policy,” Hsieh said.
Citizen of the Earth office director Tsai Chung-yueh (蔡中岳) said the government is strict about household garbage management with the “per bag trash collection fee” to reduce garbage, but it continues to offer discounted processing fees to private companies, which are unlikely to reduce their garbage output if the processing fee does not rise.
Bureau of Environmental Inspection Director-General Hsiao Ching-lang (蕭清郎) said the 24 plants processed 6.42 million tonnes of garbage last year, 65 percent of which was household garbage and 35 percent industrial waste, which was a regular distribution between the two types of trash.
He said industrial waste could crowd out the space for household garbage, as the processing cost of public incineration plants is lower than private incinerators — usually with a capacity of 100 tonnes per day.
However, each plant belongs to a local government, and it is up to the local governments to designate trash processing fees, he said.
A Taipei veterinarian is urging pet owners to avoid using insecticides around their homes, as their ingredients can be toxic to pets. Commercial-grade insecticides contain pyrethroids — organic compounds similar to natural pyrethrins, pesticides produced by flowers such as chrysanthemums — in quantities that are harmless to humans, but potentially fatal to cats and dogs, Asian Veterinary Specialist Referral Center veterinarian Chua Man-ling (蔡曼琳) said. Even in small quantities, pyrethroids are hazardous to cats, as they lack the metabolic enzymes needed to process them, Chua said. Cockroach sprays and ant traps are especially dangerous to pets as they contain boric acid, she
DOING ENOUGH? The HPA budgets NT$1.3 billion to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but has no separate budget to fight teen drinking, a doctor said The government should step up alcohol education and prevention efforts, and allocate more of the budget to it, doctors said on Friday, citing the high consumption of alcohol among Taiwanese adolescents. One out of four 12-to-17-year-olds has consumed alcohol, said Yen Tsung-hai (顏宗海), director of Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital’s Department of Clinical Toxicology. The Health Promotion Administration (HPA) budgets NT$1.3 billion (US$43.9 million) annually to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but it has not allocated a separate budget for preventing teenage drinking or excessive alcohol use, Yen said. “There is no so-called ‘safe drinking level’ for minors,” because any amount consumed
DREAMING OF TRAVEL: About 7,000 people applied for the experience, with about 60 chosen for the first flight yesterday, which includes boarding an airplane Starved of the travel experience during COVID-19? Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) has the solution — a fake itinerary where you check in, go through passport control and security, and even board the aircraft. You just never leave. The airport yesterday began offering travelers the chance to do just that, with about 60 people eager to get going, albeit to nowhere. About 7,000 people applied to take part, with the winners chosen by random. More fake flight experiences are to take place in the coming weeks. “I really want to leave the country, but because of the pandemic, lots of flights cannot fly,”
The Fancy Frontier manga and anime expo held in Taipei over the weekend has sparked controversy, after a participant allegedly contravened the Act on Offenses Against Sexual Morality (妨害風化罪) by publicly exposing her private parts during a photo shoot. The two-day event opened at the Expo Dome at the Taipei Expo Park on Saturday, attracting numerous comic and anime creators, cosplayers, photographers and fans. Allegedly, a female cosplayer who was not wearing any underwear lifted up her skirt and revealed her private parts at an outdoor photography area near the venue. Event organizers said yesterday that to prevent indecent exposure, they have since