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 student at National Chengchi University jumped from the roof of his apartment in the early hours of Sunday after he was allegedly bullied online. The 21-year-old student, surnamed Huang (黃), on Friday last week posted on the university’s online discussion forum asking the public to judge a dispute he was having with a female roommate about rent. An anonymous post on the online forum Dcard appeared on the same day, saying he was the last person to judge others, and that he was “a heavy smoker, lazy, a terrible group member for class projects and a person with a poor
‘WITCH HUNT’: Huang Wei-che’s comments made it seem as if all visitors to Tainan would be a threat and infected people should be fined, an association said Tainan Mayor Huang Wei-che (黃偉哲) should repeal a program to issue rewards for positive COVID-19 tests among people who return to their former home from northern Taiwan over the Dragon Boat Festival long weekend, the Taiwan Association for Human Rights said yesterday. Huang’s “authoritarian behavior” is unacceptable, the association said after he announced that people should notify the Tainan Public Health Bureau of people who travel to Tainan to visit relatives from Saturday to Monday next week and urge them to get tested for the virus. People would receive NT$1,000 if they submit a report that leads to a positive COVID-19 rapid
Scammers have developed new strategies to extract personal information and money amid the COVID-19 outbreak in Taiwan, the Taichung Police Department said on Sunday. The department provided advice to avoid online scams amid a surge in reports of people posing as contact tracing officials or e-commerce platforms. Scammers have developed new strategies to extract information and money, it said. Some pose as contact tracing officials, messaging targets to tell them that they have been listed as a contact of a confirmed case, it said. They ask for the target’s birthdate, national identification number, family members and other information, the department said. Contact tracing personnel do
A person who was on Friday reported as the first in Taiwan to die after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine died of a heart attack, a Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) official said yesterday. The deceased, whose sex and age were not disclosed, had coronary artery disease, which led to a fatal heart attack, Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is the CECC’s spokesman, told a news conference, citing the autopsy report. It was the first death listed as a possible adverse event after receiving the AstraZenenca COVID-19 vaccine since the start of the vaccination program on March 22. The