Premier William Lai (賴清德) yesterday said that he is open to discussions about a proposal to distribute the government’s air pollution control fund based on the amount of airborne pollutants in an area, rather than its population.
Lai made the remark on the sidelines of an exhibition opening in Taipei, amid growing public pressure on the government to address the air pollution problem after smog on Wednesday engulfed the western half of Taiwan.
“There are many sources of air pollution,” Lai said.
In Taiwan’s case, one third of air pollution comes from mobile sources, such as automobiles and motorcycles, and one third from stationery sources and industrial facilities, Lai said, adding that thermal power plants only account for 2.9 percent of Taiwan’s pollution.
The remaining one-third mostly comes from other countries, particularly China, Lai said.
Asked about the possibility of distributing the pollution fund based on the amount of pollutants in an area, Lai said that if local governments asked for the distribution method to be changed, he would instruct the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) to investigate the matter based on sources of pollutants, population and other factors.
The fund, which was set up in 1995 under the Air Pollution Control Act (空氣污染防制法), is replenished with air pollution control taxes imposed on stationary and mobile pollution sources.
For stationary pollution sources, the government collects a tax based on the amount of pollutants — mainly sulphur oxides, nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds — emitted by private and public facilities.
Forty percent of the taxes on stationary pollution sources goes to the central government, while the rest is divided between local governments.
As for sources of mobile pollution, a fee of NT$0.3 and NT$0.4 is charged per liter of gasoline and diesel, respectively.
According to statistics compiled by the EPA, the government on average collects NT$4 billion for the fund per year.
By May it had collected NT$1.47 billion.
It took director Chong Keat Aun (張吉安) nearly a decade to complete Snow in Midsummer (五月雪), a deft chronicle of Malaysia’s May 13 incident told through one woman’s search for her brother and father. Although only his second feature, it led the field at yesterday’s Golden Horse Awards with nine nominations. Chong said it had been a struggle to get people to share their memories of the intercommunal violence following the 1969 national election, known among the country’s ethnic Chinese community as “513.” “My father, for example, would shut the conversation down if my mother or grandma even mentioned the topic,” Chong said
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday said that a surge in respiratory illnesses in China has been caused by at least seven types of pathogens, and small children, elderly people and immunocompromised people should temporarily avoid unnecessary visits to China. The recent outbreak of respiratory illnesses in China is mainly in the north and among children, CDC Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞) said on Monday. Data released by the Chinese National Health Commission on Sunday showed that among children aged one to four, the main pathogens were influenza viruses and rhinoviruses, while among children aged five to 14, the main pathogens
A new poll of Taiwanese voters found the top opposition candidate for president jumping past the ruling party’s hopeful into the lead position ahead of January’s election — the latest twist in a drama-filled race. Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) presidential candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) had an approval rating of 31.9 percent versus 29.2 percent for the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) presidential candidate Vice President William Lai (賴清德), the poll released yesterday by the Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation showed. The Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) presidential candidate, New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜), ranked third with 23.6 percent, according to the survey conducted
A New Taipei City hotpot restaurant could be fined after a rat dropped from the ceiling and landed on a customer’s plate last week, the New Taipei City Department of Health said yesterday after conducting an inspection. A woman recently posted on the “I am a Banciao resident” (我是板橋人) social media group saying that she had been eating with a friend at Chien Tu Shabu Shabu Hotpot Restaurant’s Shuangshi B branch in Banciao District (板橋). “While still eating, a big rat suddenly dropped down from the ceiling, landing on a plate next to a hotpot,” she said. “Later on, a member of