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Recent Issues By Topics
Recycling Free Recycling for Household Appliances before Lunar New Year2021-03-01

The Lunar New Year Festival is a time when people like to replace old household appliances with new ones. The EPA reminded the public to recycle them in one of the three ways available rather than discard them at will. Statistics show that a total of 3.36 million waste home appliances were recycled in 2020, out of which over 100,000 metric tons of materials were recycled, producing an estimated value of NT$1.3 billion. The EPA urged people to properly recycle waste household appliances to ensure that they enter the legal disposal system instead of being improperly taken apart, which can lead to environmental pollution.
 

According to the EPA, there are three options to recycle home appliances:

1. Buyers of new televisions, refrigerators, washing machines, or air conditioners can hand their old appliances over to the retailers to recycle for free. It is both convenient and environment-friendly.

2. Without buying any new home appliances, those looking to dispose of their old appliances can call the EPA’s recycling hotline (0800-085717) or visit the Recycling Website (https://recycle.epa.gov.tw) to inquire about recyclers’ contact information.

3. People can contact their local cleaning squad to set up a time and location for their waste appliances to be picked up. People are reminded not to obstruct traffic or pollute the local environment when doing so.

The EPA noted that proper recycling and disposal of waste electronic household appliances not only reduces carbon emission and resource consumption, the recycled materials have the potential to create huge market values. Statistics show that 3.36 million waste household appliances across Taiwan were recycled in 2020, weighing roughly 120,000 metric tons. And out of these appliances, more than 100,000 metric tons of reusable materials such as copper, iron, aluminum, glass, and plastic were recycled, producing a value of approximately NT$1.3 billion. Under the concept of extended producer responsibility and sustainable materials management, waste household appliance recycling can become a form of urban mining, helping us achieve goals such as resource recycling and reuse, zero waste, energy conservation, and carbon reduction.

Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, Feb 2021

International Cooperation Feature Article: International Environmental Collaboration2021-03-01

With support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), the EPA has actively facilitated environmental diplomacy and promoted regional bilateral and multilateral cooperation. Programs such as seminars and exchanges are regularly organized under the International Environmental Partnership (IEP), building up Taiwan's experiences and capacity in regional environmental services. The IEP programs that are currently being carried out mainly deal with environmental issues that are of global concern as well as areas where developing nations can benefit from the Taiwan experience.

Recent implementation results

1.Bilateral Taiwan-US collaboration

(1) Signing of the Implementing Arrangement #13 to the Agreement between the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States and the American Institute in Taiwan for Technical Cooperation in the Field of Environmental Protection

Arrangement #13, signed in September 2020, expands the bilateral cooperation scope between Taiwan and the US. Several emerging regional environmental issues that span across jurisdictions of different departments, such as renewable energy certification, ecological health for children, and marine waste, are covered in the latest Regulations.

(2) Taiwan-US atmospheric monitoring

The Taiwan EPA and USEPA jointly established the Asia-Pacific Mercury Monitoring Network (APMMN) in 2019. It has assisted partner nations such as Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Fiji, Mongolia, Nepal, Borneo, and India with mercury wet deposition sampling techniques and mercury analysis of rainwater samples. Taiwan also works with Japan on comparing wet deposition samplers. The Taiwan EPA has also continued working with NASA on the Light Detection and Ranging (Lidar) Monitoring Network and Aerosol Automatic Monitoring Network Cooperation Agreement. The NASA-certified lidar station in National Central University is the only standard Lidar station in Asia.

Taiwan also joined the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Carbon Circulation Greenhouse House Monitoring Network, conducting greenhouse gas monitoring on Lulin Mountain, the Pratas Islands, and the Spratly Islands.

2. Taiwan-Japan environmental exchanges and cooperation

The "Taiwan-Japan Environmental Forum" is an official platform for dialogue, negotiation and negotiation between Taiwan and Japan. Since 2006, it has been taken turns held in Taipei and Tokyo regularly. The 9th Taiwan-Japan Environmental Symposium was intended to be held in Taipei. Finally, it was conducted on 4 December 2020 in a video-conference format due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The following are four topics highlighted in this event: collaboration in promoting environmental education; implementation of laws and regulations related to climate change; air quality monitoring of pollutants from transboundary long-range transmission; principles for streamlining and updating the EIA process for wind turbines.

3. Taiwan-EU environmental exchange

(1) Participating in the European Commission's National Experts on Professional Training (NEPTs)

Under the bilateral talks’ framework between Taiwan and the EU, the European Commission's NEPTs helped Taiwan obtain the EU's approval for Taiwan's participation. Taiwan was one of the very few non-EU member states that took part in the program.

The EPA in 2020 had chosen delegates to attend NEPTs. These recommended delegates were also reviewed and approved by the European Union’s Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (DG RTD). The objective is to set up a liaison relationship between the EPA and the EU and conduct various environmental collaborations or exchanges.

(2) Taiwan-Germany cooperation and exchange on climate change

In October 2020, the Taiwan-Germany Carbon Market Capacity Building Workshop was held in a video-conference format, featuring delegates from the German Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt – UBA) and German Emissions Trading Authority (DEHSt), along with related experts and scholars. The exchanges and discussions were shared on the implementation and development of the carbon market mechanism in Taiwan and Germany.

(3) Taiwan-UK exchange during the carbon pricing mechanism workshop

Mr. Josh Burke, an expert on carbon pricing from the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment of the London School of Economics and Political Science, was invited by the British Office Taipei to speak at the Taiwan-UK Carbon Pricing Mechanism and Exchange Workshop, held by the EPA on 25 February 2020. Burke shared the UK's experiences on formulating carbon pricing policies and actual implementation and exchanging with Taiwan's leading scholars, experts, and think tanks concerning greenhouse gas reduction and control policies.

(4) Environmental cooperation and exchanges with other European nations

The EPA's other endeavors with other European countries include collaboration with the Trade Council of Denmark on the INDEX Award, a Danish contest on environmental education innovations and environmental designs; working with the Swedish Trade and Invest Council to promote and exchange electric vehicle technology and garbage collection systems, and; an exchange on carbon pricing with the British Office Taipei. All of the above have greatly benefited the development of environmental protection in Taiwan and cemented Taiwan's partnerships with these European countries through collaboration and experience sharing in various environmental fields.

4. Environmental exchanges between Taiwan and Israel

As the 25th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP25) had its bilateral talk with Israel, the EPA used this opportunity to hold an environmental exchange with Israel via video conference. The two sides exchanged ideas on their respective environmental policies, new green deals, and technology.

5. Keeping up with the New Southbound Policy

The EPA has actively promoted exchanges with the New Southbound Policy's target nations, such as Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia. Of these nations, Taiwan has the most frequent exchanges with Vietnam, with which two environmental collaboration agreements have been signed.

Future efforts

Years of promotion efforts have increased the exposure of Taiwan's environmental protection achievements in the world. Taiwan has also strengthened its bilateral ties by helping regional partners improve their environmental quality and has steadily built-up beneficial interactions with these partner countries' top officials.

To develop local environmental industries, the EPA will carry out various projects in the future in line with the New Southbound Policy, including gathering information on environmental quality for the last five years in the focus nations (Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, and Malaysia). Data collection will target air quality, waste management, surface water body quality, soil and groundwater pollution, and marine pollution to understand critical environmental issues in these countries better.

Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, Feb 2021

Environmental Education Taiwan-Denmark Environmental Education Collaboration Leads to Exhibition on The Index Award2021-03-01

On 2 February 2021, the EPA Minister Tzi-Chin Chang and Bo Mønsted, Director of the Trade Council of Denmark in Taiwan, jointly kicked off the Taiwan-Denmark Environmental Education Collaboration and the Index Award Exhibition in Songshan Cultural and Creative Park.

Director Mønsted said in his speech, "In the fast-changing world nowadays, cross-national collaboration is the right path to make breakthroughs under the existing framework. The Trade Council of Denmark's greatest mission has always been to promote such collaboration between Taiwan and Denmark. It is wonderful today to see that the EPA has continually worked with the Index Project. It demonstrates Taiwan's non-stop efforts in environmental education and shows Taiwanese people like and accept the Danish way of thinking and environmental designs. We hope that such collaborations can help Taiwan to breed new generations of design talents that can think of new ways to solve the various environmental problems faced by today's society."

Minister Chang also said in the kick-off ceremony, "This exhibition demonstrates how environmental education in Denmark combines design, innovation, and commercialization in response to global climate change and other sustainability issues. Taiwan has since 2014 held environmental design competitions once every two years. During these four competitions, submissions increased from 513 works in the first competition to 919 in the latest one, touching on local and global challenges such as sustainable development, climate change, air pollution, an aging population, and so on. Award-winning designs such as 'turning diapers to gold,' eco-friendly water treatment systems, and light-weight, energy-conserving bricks have all been commercialized and are already helping to solve environmental problems."

Fifteen designs were chosen from among 2015, 2017, and 2019 Index Award winners (final selection) to be displayed during this exhibition. These designs' environmental issue areas included energy, climate change, sustainable development, food security, environmental education, and major illnesses. It is also worth mentioning that all these works centered around the concept of a circular economy, which the EPA has also been promoting in its recent policies. For instance: clothes made from recycled polyesters (named Petit Pli) can be worn repeatedly by children aged from nine months to four years; Plastix is an example of reutilization of marine waste plastics; Pinatex is a fabric made of pineapple leaf fibers; Greenwave shows an innovative model of aquaculture.

Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, Feb 2021

General Policy Legislative Process Underway to Reform Environmental Analysis Systems2021-03-01

On 25 January 2021, the EPA preannounced the draft Environmental Analysis Act  and stated that its purpose was to enhance the quality and credibility of environmental analysis data. The legislation's main points included setting up a fund, establishing a management platform, optimizing the management of environmental analysis organizations, and establishing systems for staff certification and equipment inspections.

Through the Act, the EPA plans to announce individual enterprises related to environmental analysis as designated analysis obligors, who will pay analysis fees into an "environmental analysis fund." An objective third party "environmental analysis management platform" will be established to help select highly qualified organizations that EPA can contract to carry out environmental analysis for the obligors and provide independent working spaces for environmental analysis. To further ensure professionalism and quality, and credibility of data, the EPA is also planning to incorporate mechanisms to optimize the permit system and establish certification criteria for environmental analysis personnel and equipment inspection systems. Moreover, the legislation will incorporate clauses for whistleblowers and mechanisms for rewarding people who report violations, confiscation of illegal gains, and; rewarding analysis organizations for good performance or canceling their permits for violating regulations to deter enterprises from evading laws and regulations.

Enterprises to be regulated will be announced in batches and stages over the years to lessen the impacts of implementing the law. In the first stage, enterprises that can cause more environmental impacts will be announced as designated environmental analysis subjects, including the air and water pollution sources of a specific scale that are listed for control and are required to conduct regular analysis. The legislation is expected to change the current practice where enterprises directly commission organizations to conduct analysis and influence analysis operations and outcomes. After the preannouncement, the EPA will invite relevant ministries, local government agencies, industry representatives, analysis organizations, and other stakeholders for further discussion, opinion gathering, and consensus-building to complete the legislative process and improve the draft.

Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, Feb 2021

Environmental Inspection Green Eating Promoted to Reduce Food Waste2021-03-01

During the Lunar New Year, families in Taiwan usually get together and prepare abundant food to eat together. The EPA urged all to practice "green eating" during the festival, starting from food waste reduction at the source. That means eating at home or dining out, and people should cook or order food based on how much they would eat. This will be good for both the environment and human health. Now policies are underway to use food waste to generate electricity, five local governments, including Taichung City, are operating, constructing, or planning for such food waste Reutilization facilities.

To keep up with the global trend on turning organic waste into bioenergy and diversify reuse channels for food waste, the EPA has been promoting food waste recycling through composting or using it as swine feed after being cooked at high temperatures. A plan to use food waste to generate electricity in bioenergy plants is also underway. To date, there are five local governments, including Taichung City, that are operating, constructing, or planning for such electricity-generating facilities. The total treatment capacity is estimated to be 230,000 metric tons of food waste, generating 41.97 million kWh of electricity, bringing in NT$214.79 million/year from selling the electricity and cutting carbon emission by 22,000 metric tons/year. Specifically, Taichung City has been officially operating its bioenergy plant using food waste since 9 July 2019, Taoyuan City has signed contracts on 22 October 2018 and is expected to complete the construction of a plant in July 2021, and Taipei City, New Taipei City, and Kaohsiung City are currently planning for such plants.

In order to expand food waste disposal capacity, the EPA is also actively pushing for the co-digestion of food waste with other organic wastes (pig excrement and sewage sludge). Co-digestion is an anaerobic digestion process carried out in closed tanks that can reduce the odor problem that often arises from conventional composting. The Central Livestock Farm in Pingtung County has completed the installation of anaerobic co-digestion tanks and expects to finish co-digestion trial runs in October 2021. Should the trial results prove the method feasible, it will be promoted to other pig farms. Also, the EPA has been working with the Ministry of the Interior's (MOI) Construction and Planning Agency (CPA) to promote the co-digestion of wastewater sludge and food waste. A wastewater treatment plant is expected to be chosen in 2021 as a co-digestion pilot plant. It will be used first to digest only food waste slurry, with wastewater sludge to be gradually incorporated later. The plant is an example of inter-ministerial collaboration to build more diversified food waste disposal channels.

The EPA stressed that reutilizing food waste could effectively reduce the amount of waste to be incinerated and increase the green energy supply as it is a form of bioenergy, contributing to building a circular economy. The public is urged to help protect our homeland during the Lunar New Year by recycling food waste and transforming it into useful resources.

Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, Feb 2021

EIA Revised Working Standards for Development Activity Environmental Impact Assessments Announced2021-03-01

On 2 February 2021, the EPA announced the revised Working Standards for Development Activity Environmental Impact Assessments and Article 8 Annex 2. The focuses of this revision included: the requirement to upload the original data from environmental surveys to the EPA website; the stipulation that developmental activities in areas involving indigenous lands, tribes, or the public lands within a certain distance from these lands should be handled in accordance with the Indigenous Peoples Basic Law; the requirement to publish the minutes of public meetings on designated websites and include them in environmental impact assessment (EIA) statements, and; the review and adjustment of several items of development activity environmental surveys in categories such as air quality, hydrology, water quality, and soil. Revisions will take effect six months after the day of the announcement.

The EPA pointed that the Working Standards require developers to assess their development activities' environmental impacts and formulate preventive measures in advance of making EIA statements and reports. The Working Standards also unify the formats of EIA documents to enhance document quality and EIA review efficiency. The revisions will: allow for better utilization and analysis of environmental quality survey data; strengthen the protection of indigenous peoples' rights, and; enhance the disclosure of EIA information, and better fulfill the right to public participation.

Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, Feb 2021

Chemicals From Farm to Table: Protecting Food Safety2021-03-01

Food safety requires effective and closely coordinated control from farm to table. Since its establishment in December 2016, the EPA’s Toxic and Chemical Substances Bureau (TCSB) has been working with the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) and Council of Agriculture (COA) to jointly safeguard the food production environment. From the environment and the chemical material industry at the source of the food chain, the agricultural and aquatic products at the production stage, to the products for sale at the market end, the TCSB and its partners endeavor to protect producers’ rights and consumers’ health from farm to table.

The three agencies jointly hold quarterly Environmental Protection and Food Safety Coordination Meetings, co-presided by the deputy ministers, to discuss up-to-date environmental protection and food safety information. The meetings would decide on what measures to implement in advance in the environmental aspect and what high-risk areas to continue to monitor. Any possible contamination risks found in the environment, agricultural and aquatic products, or food production links will be immediately reported to all three agencies, which will then jointly conduct monitoring, tracing, and sampling, or take emergency measures to ensure safety of food and the food production environment.

 

Concerning at-source control of chemical substances with potential food safety risks, the EPA had finished inspecting and assisting over 3,000 chemical material enterprises between 2017 and 2020, helping them achieve self-management. Inspection and assistance have also been conducted jointly with other ministries for traditional holiday-related projects. For instance, there was a joint inspection in 2020 targeting 124 chemical material enterprises that sold food additives with high food safety risks.

 

Twenty chemical substances with potential food safety risks, including rhodamine B and Sudan Red G, have been announced as Class 4 toxic chemical substances. The purpose was to increase the responsibility of upstream enterprises that handle chemical substances with high risk to food safety and further prevent these substances from entering the food production chain. In addition, the Toxic and Concerned Chemical Substances Control Act (毒性及關注化學物質管理法), revised and announced on 16 January 2019 by the EPA, has been added with a special chapter on “Concerned Chemical Substances”. The EPA will continue to evaluate concerned chemical substances with food safety risks for future control.

 

To protect citizens’ health from farm to table, the EPA emphasized that cross-ministerial cooperation will continue in 2021 to strengthen management in all links of the food production chain and avoid food contamination in the production process.

Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, Feb 2021

Air Subsidies Available with Online Application to Replace Large Old Diesel Vehicles2021-03-01

For the Subsidizations for Replacing Large Old Diesel Vehicles (大型柴油車汰舊換新補助) and the Subsidizations for Repairing Fuel Injection Systems or Installing Air Pollution Control Equipment on Large Diesel Vehicles (大型柴油車調修燃油控制系統或加裝空氣污染防制設備補助), the EPA has been in charge of handling subsidy applications, reviews, and appropriations from 1 January 2021

The EPA said that the online system for applying for all subsidies for Phases 1-3 large diesel vehicles (https://dvs.epa.gov.tw) has been established to expedite and enhance the processing and reviewing of subsidy applications. Vehicle owners only need to get online to sign up for an account, get a pin code, and upload needed documents and photos for the subsidy applications via mobile devices. All documents and photos to be uploaded must be intact and clear without cut-off corners or edges, or light reflections. In the instance of applying for a subsidy to purchase a new vehicle to replace an old one, uploading just takes a few minutes once all required documents and photos are prepared. In addition, the EPA has set up a single service counter (02-85124402) to provide vehicle owners with information on subsidy or application matters.

 

Vehicle owners are urged to use the online application method when applying for subsidies to save time on mailing, submitting and resubmitting documents. The EPA will continue to optimize the digitization of the application process and improve the quality of administrative operation to protect the rights of vehicle owners with speedy and convenient services. Owners of large diesel vehicles are urged to replace their vehicles as early as possible as the subsidy will be reduced after 10 December 2021.

Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, Feb 2021

Air Public Opinion to Be Referenced in Revision of Offset Principles 2021-03-01

On 28 July 2009, the EPA formulated the Offset Principles for the Increased Greenhouse Gas Emissions Caused by Development Activities (審查開發行為空氣污染物排放量增量抵換處理原則) for enterprises and the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Committee to refer to during reviews. The draft revision, proposed at the end of 2020, followed the approaches of the Air Pollution Control Act by removing street cleaning and sweeping offsets and adding a mechanism for obtaining offsets through collaboration with competent authorities as well as industry competent authorities. A triple-win situation for developers, competent authorities, and the environment can be achieved this way.

During the last meeting held on 7 December 2020, participating civil organizations worried that offsets across different air quality zones would cause air pollution deterioration in the south and that offsets for emissions calculated with different methods were unfair. The EPA originally proposed the cross-zone offsets on the basis that air pollution flows freely and that cutting down emissions in counties and cities in the upstream air quality zones would not only lower air pollution in these zones, but would also improve air quality in those downstream zones. Considering the concerns raised by the public about cross-zone offsets, the EPA will continue to communicate with concerned parties and not include it in the revision until an agreement is reached on the multiplying factor for reduced emissions and offset methods.

 

The EPA stressed that the Principles are merely administrative guidelines, not regulations. The members of the EIA Committee still have the right to require developers to propose more active reduction measures in future EIA reviews, and the Principles will serve only as a reference. In addition, the Principles are still in the formulating and opinion-collecting phase, and the EPA welcomes input from the general public which will be considered in future revisions.

Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, Feb 2021