An amendment to the Factory Management Act (工廠管理輔導法) has failed its purpose to dismantle “temporary” factories and allow the nation to retain more arable land, Citizen of the Earth, Taiwan said.
The amendment, passed on June 27, 2018, stipulates that no more “temporary factories” built on arable land are to be approved after May 20, 2016, and would be removed if reported.
All factories not registered as temporary factories by May 19, 2016, that are considered a large source of pollution must close down or relocate, it says.
The amendment stipulates that low-polluting factories must submit to local government oversight within two years, provide an improvement plan within three years and complete that plan within two years of its approval.
All improvements must be completed within a decade of the passage of the amendment, which has a sunset clause of 20 years.
The amendment was passed to ensure that Taiwan’s food self-sufficiency remains at 40 percent, which requires 740,000 to 810,000 hectares of arable land.
However, the environmental protection group on Tuesday said that the government has been playing fast and loose with enforcing the amendment.
There has been no time frame set for factory owners to relocate their factories, nor has the government participated in the relocation processes, it said.
The amendment prolonged a provision of a 2010 amendment to the act that gave illegal factories until next month to file for registration as temporary factories, it added.
Changhua Environmental Protection Union secretary-general Shih Yueh-ying (施月英) said that despite the 2018 amendment’s claims to “remove if reported,” the government has not acted on any of the 68 cases reported since its passage.
Citizen of the Earth, Taiwan member Tsai Chia-sheng (蔡佳昇) said that the amendment aimed to provide transparency of information, calling the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ refusal to make a report on the matter public because it is “afraid of it containing inaccurate data” ludicrous, as the report cost NT$130 million (US$4.3 million) to complete.
In addition, the ministry has not included academics or local organization in its factory management reports, Tsai said, adding that it has been too focused on trying to legalize factories.
Citizen of the Earth, Taiwan member Wu Yuan-yu (吳沅諭) said that the government should be implementing its policies with a carrot-and-stick approach, but so far it has used only the carrot.
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