• 綠意盎然
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Recent Issues By Topics
Environmental Management Foundation Set for a Low-carbon Homeland, Communities Take Action2019-07-15

To raise awareness of climate change and improve our homelands environmental durability, the EPA began promoting the Low-carbon and Sustainable Homeland since 2009. As of this year, 3,887 neighborhoods are participating. Of these, 783 have actively implemented green energy, recycling, restoration of green environments, low-carbon lifestyles, green transportation and shipping as well as sustainable business practices. Communities have used these six ways to take action against climate change and received either a bronze or silver certification from the EPA. 

The EPA noted that communities autonomously implement initiatives to respond to climate change and then apply for in the Low-carbon and Sustainable Homeland certification. Communities that have successfully executed 5-7 items of the initiative or made adjustments to their practices may receive a bronze certificate. Communities that have implemented 13 or more items from the initiative as well as showed excellent performance in four out of the six dimensions can qualify for the silver certificate. Since formally beginning the project in 2015, communities applying for certification has steadily increased. In 2018 there were 15 silver and 95 bronze certificates awarded.

Local governments have also actively participated. In 2017, a number of places were awarded the silver certificate: Taipei, New Taipei, Taoyuan City, Tainan, Hsinchu County, Yilan County, and Chiayi City. Kaohsiung and Kinmen County were added to the list in 2018. Based on 2018s numbers, there are 3,887 villages, 337 towns (town, cities, districts), and 22 municipalities or counties participating in the initiative. The participation rate is 50%, 92% and 100% respectively. Forty-seven villages received silver certificates; 736 earned a bronze certificate. Ten urban areas received silver certificates, while 108 earned bronze. Among municipalities and counties, 9 received silver certificates and 11 earned bronze.

Among the 738 villages to earn a silver rank, 95% adopted measures to lower indoor temperatures (such as promoting green roofs, plant walls or hedges, and permeable pavement). According to the Bureau of Energy’s statistics, to lower the temperature of a room by one degree, an air conditioner uses 6% more electricity. However, when area temperature reduction measures are taken, indoor temperatures can be reduced by 3-5 degrees, simultaneously lowering electricity use by 10-25%. Thus, these measures not only reduce carbon emissions but also improve communities’ abilities to adjust high temperatures.

In addition, 88% of villages adopted recycling measures; 83% made use of green energy. These communities are also able to implement diverse initiatives to reduce carbon and implement adjustment measures based on their local conditions.

International Cooperation International Conference on a Sustainable Taiwan Held on World Environment Day2019-07-15

To demonstrate Taiwan’s determination to promote sustainable development, the National Council for Sustainable Development (NCSD) held the International Conference on a Sustainable Taiwan: Accelerating the Localization of UNSDGs on 5 June 2019. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) experts from the US, Europe, Asia-Pacific and Africa were invited to the conference to share SDG implementation experiences and future strategies with Taiwanese representatives across different sectors, such as heads or deputy heads of county and city environmental bureaus.

In the opening ceremony, students from Micang Elementary School, which has won the National Sustainable Development Award in the education category twice, spoke on behalf of the new generation about their vision for the . During the conference, three main topics on SDGs were discussed to exchange international implementation experiences and to integrate knowledge from central and local governments, businesses, academia, and the general public. As the secretariat of the NCSD, the EPA aims to form global partnerships through the conference and together they will embark on the journey of building a sustainable environment for future generations.

The other purpose of the conference was to announce the Taiwan Sustainable Development Goals formulated by the NCSD so that related ministries can carry out the implementation accordingly. In response to the UNSDGs launched in 2015, the Taiwan SDGs were devised based on the UNSDGs and Taiwan’s current circumstance and future goals in sustainable development. After spending two years working with different ministries and gathering opinions from the public and the Legislative Yuan, Taiwan finally completed its SDGs.

To stimulate the promotion of SDGs and achieve sustainable development, several experts in the area of SDG promotion from the US, Europe, Asia-Pacific and Africa were invited to participate in the conference and share their implementation experiences. The EPA also invited heads and deputy heads of five city and four county environmental bureaus, businesses and schools that have won the National Sustainable Development Awards, and student representatives and youth activists advocating the SDGs.
Feature Article Sustainable Resource Utilization via Circular Economy2019-07-15

Taiwan's recycling goal has changed from the conventional end-of-pipe treatment to the current source reduction, gradually heading toward the goal of zero waste. Through the implementation of 2018-2020 Resource Recycling and Reuse Plans, the EPA hopes to build a circular economy and achieve sustainability, including maximizing resource utilization and minimizing the impacts on the environment.
 Launched in 1997, the EPAs Four-in-one Resource Recycling Plan has combined four forces, including communities, recycling enterprises, local sanitation crews, and the Recycling Fund, with government authorities. It aims to establish recycling channels participated by all citizens and completely solve garbage treatment problems with a proper treatment rate of over 99%.

However, rapid economic development and drastic increase of the types and quantity of industrial wastes has led to more complicated treatment methods and higher costs. The conventional end-of-pipe treatment can no longer meet modern needs. In order to achieve a circular economy of zero waste, the EPA is currently implementing the following measures:
 
Strengthening industrial waste reutilization management

The EPA announced the Management Regulations for Reuse of Common Industrial Waste on 8 January 2018. Eight industrial wastes -- food waste, waste cooking oil, waste iron, waste paper, waste glass, waste plastic, waste single metal (copper, zinc, aluminum, and tin), and waste cement telecommunication lines -- are listed for control and management under the EPA.

Subsequently, an announcement on 9 January 2018 mandated tracking of reused coal ash, waste casting sand, and electric arc furnace slag. Each competent authority should conduct environmental monitoring if their reuses are potentially affecting the environment.

On 27 November 2018, the amended Industries Required to Submit Online Reports of Waste Production, Storage, Clearance, Treatment, Reuse, Export, and Import and Industries Required to Submit Industrial Waste Clearance Plans were both announced. The revisions are specifically to include evaluation for industrial waste clearance plans for the purpose of reuse.

Resource Recycling and Reuse

 (1) Implementation of 2018-2020 Resource Recycling and Reuse Plan
Besides incorporating the concept of circular economy, the Resource Recycling and Reuse Plan launched in 2018, promotes strategies based on life cycles of various materials. Under the strategies covering production, consumption, waste management, and reused material markets, the EPA has formulated cross-departmental action strategies, measures, and key performance indexes and determined that plastic, metals, construction waste, and food waste would be the first to implement upon.

As it carries out the Plan, the EPA hopes to build a circular economy and achieve sustainability, maximizing resource utilization and minimizing environmental impacts. Recycling and reuse of waste plastic and construction waste were the targets set in 2018, and members of the committee reviewed the results of the project in the Resource Recycling and Reuse Promotion Committee of EPA.

 (2) Cradle-to-cradle (C2C) design concepts and circular economy evaluation

To encourage companies to prioritize product design from the beginning and enhance public awareness of C2C design concepts and understanding of circular economy, the EPA continued to invite corporations to participate in the C2C Platform in 2018. To date, the platform has 94 members. In 2018, nine meetings were organized with group discussions to increase exchanges among members and promote the platform.

Evaluation for circular economy of waste resources had been conducted in 2018 on reuse institutes to further encourage and promote reuse. After the evaluation, nine of 74 enterprises that signed up were awarded with two stars, and 15 with one star. Enterprises with excellent performances are used as examples to encourage and guide each industry to commit to circular economy. Moreover, the EPA hopes that the evaluation will become an index on the promotion of circular economy by various industries.

 (3) Promoting recycling and treatment of waste solar panels
In response to future treatment of waste photoelectricity modules, the EPA has planned out a semi-automatic recycling mechanism and mandated enterprises to fulfill their extended producer responsibilities (EPRs). A joint recycling, clearance, and treatment organization is to be established by enterprises.
 
Before the revisions, waste recycling, clearance, and treatment fees collected by the Bureau of Energy of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and fees specially applied by the EPA were used on recycling, clearance, and treatment of waste solar panels. After the revisions, the EPA has become in charge of collecting the relevant fees, which are managed under the Recycling Fund.

Strengthening functions of Recycling Fund

1. Perfecting management of recycling and treatment channels
The EPA has actively encouraged authorities in charge to conduct recycling plans, open up recycling channels, and increase recycling results.

(1) Authorities in charge of recycling have been supplied with needed equipment and facilities. In 2019, it is expected to subsidize purchase of 11 loaders, construction of one and renovation of three recycling and storage sites, and replacement of 192 hybrid recycling vehicles.
(2) The Neighborhood Recycling Station Plan prescribes the setting up of 1,400 stations in 2019. As many as 1,299 had been set up by February 2019 to strengthen the recycling system.
(3) The Circular Economy and Recycling Army Plan prescribes the hiring of 2,982 people every month in average in 2019 to help sort recycled wastes. The EPA will also try to prevent self-employed recyclers from being financially affected by price changes in the recycling market.
(4) The Recycling Care Program, newly launched in 2019, focuses on self-employed recyclers that are also medium-low income households. For wastes required to be recycled, subsidies of NT$5/kg or NT$20/set (or unit) are provided. Among them, the subsidy for waste paper container has been raised from NT$5/kg to NT$10/kg since July 1 2019.

(5) Annual performance evaluation is conducted on competent authorities, where exchanges on innovative recycling methods in different areas are also carried out to raise recycling efficiency.

To set up a comprehensive system of recycling and treatment channels, 618 recyclers and 91 treatment enterprises had obtained registration licenses as of the end of February. Among those, 224 recyclers and 76 treatment enterprises have been subsidized. The EPA has finished helping subsidize enterprises to set up closed-circuit television, measuring equipment and systems. The monitoring efficiency has also been raised through monitoring operations of both subsidized enterprises and inspecting and certifying organizations. Measuring and weighing data can now be uploaded to an online system without manually keying in the data, largely cutting down costs and raising efficiency.

The EPA has been publicly asking innovative and research projects on recycling and treatment in order to encourage enterprises to develop recycling and treatment technology, attract talents, and create reuse channels. 15 applications were approved in 2018, and 17 in 2019.

2. Monitoring responsible enterprises to practice recyclable waste management

A total of 23,714 responsible enterprises (35,096 per company/time) had been listed under control as of the end of May 2019 with 804,676 pieces of registered data of operation evaluated and put into the system. Responsible enterprises can pay fees in banks, post offices, and convenience stores. To provide a convenient way to pay fee, or they can set up a link on the reporting system via the e-bill website and pay directly online.

During January and May in 2019, an accounting firm was commissioned to audit 757 recycling and treatment enterprises, which has larger amount of reported recycling, clearance, and treatment fees. The audited fees amounted to approximately NT$2.816 billion. Rate of enterprises accurately reporting fees is 99.19%.

Promoting recycling to increase effectiveness

There were1.407 million metric tons of recyclable waste in 2018 and 119,000 metric tons in January 2019. The EPA actively helps Southeast Asian countries develop business opportunities for recycling industry-needed technology and equipment by assisting them with evaluations and skill-building projects and exchanging recycling and reuse technology. A toll-free phone number is in place to assist anyone in need. The resource recycling system had adopted its website with responsive website design (RWD) and issued e-newsletters to intensify online promotion with interactive videos, images, texts, and social networks. Until the end of May 2019, civil organizations had been sponsored to hold 52 recycling and treatment promotion activities, with a total of 82,110 participants.

Future prospect
The EPA believes the future policies of circular economy should aim for resource sustainability. With recycling, reuse, and innovation as the guidelines, the EPA has been adopting the idea of materials life cycles and circular utilization and gradually heading toward the final goal of zero-waste. In addition to the conventional 3Rs (reduce, recycle, and reuse), another 3Rs -- recovery of energy, land reclamation, and redesign -- have also been introduced to build a circular economy.

Water Revisions to Enterprise Classification and Definition of the Water Pollution Control Act2019-07-15

To meet management needs, the EPA has announced revisions to the Enterprise Classification and Definition of the Water Pollution Control Act on 1 May 2019. Five enterprise categories, including seawater desalination plants, have been added for future control. The revisions for different categories will take effect on different dates.

The EPA noted that so far 61 types of enterprises are under control under the current Water Pollution Control Act and that the revisions further intensify controls in response to practical management needs. The reasons for the revisions are as follows.

Seawater desalination plants are currently controlled under the classification of waterworks. Moreover, application conditions are different due to characteristics of seawater treatment and emissions, so they should be individually controlled for water pollution. Recently, there have been water pollution incidents caused by enterprises of scales that were too small to be required for water pollution controls. Examples include untreated total phosphorous-containing wastewater being discharged into rivers and causing eutrophication in reservoirs. Pollutants in storage tanks were leaked and led to soil or groundwater pollution. However, the culprits could not be required to install pollution-controlling facilities and monitoring equipment based on the Water Pollution Control Act. Also, steam-producing enterprises that use wet oxidation to treat waste gases generated wastewater containing pollutants like dioxins, suspended solids (SSs), and organic matter.
 
In addition, for both livestock and copepod-farming enterprises agricultural waste reutilization trial projects approved by competent agricultural authorities, the control needs to be tightened as wastewater generated by farming activities contains high concentration of organic matters that affect water body quality.
 
The revisions include the following main points:

1.Newly adding enterprises that collect livestock manure or liquor and fiber digestate treated with aerobatic fermentation for aquatic plant seeds and animal feeds like farming algae, and rotifer or other aquatic animals: Control applies to enterprises in two conditions. Its size must exceed 0.25 hectares if its located inside a protective area for water quantity and quality in water origin and 0.5 hectares if outside of it. Control will take effect on 1 July 2019. The enterprises will be controlled with control items, standards, and limited for Enterprise 59, animal husbandry and animal excreta or bioenergy treatment center (or biogas center).

2.Newly adding Enterprise 61: seawater desalination plants. Enterprises that collect, desalinate seawater or semi-saltwater for water use. Twenty-one control items are specifically added.

3.Newly adding Enterprise 62: enterprises within total phosphorous reduction control zones of reservoirs: Control targets, control standards, and limits are according to the reservoirs total phosphorous reduction control zones and control methods announced by the competent authorities in special municipalities, counties, and cities.

4.Newly adding Enterprise 63: steam suppliers. Enterprises that install broilers and engage in steam production, delivery, and supply, and as a result generate wastewater.  Control will be effective from 1 July 2019. Control standards and limits are additionally set for a total of 46 items, including dioxins, and will take effect from 1 July 2020.

5.Newly adding enterprises that install storage facilities within operating premises, store materials designated by the central competent authorities in Article 33 Paragraph 1 of the Water Pollution Control Act with storage capacity of 200 liters or more: Control will take effect on 1 July 2020.

6.For enterprises with incinerating facilities that set up wet or semi-dry washing equipment for their own air pollution control facilities, dioxins within the effluents should be listed for control whether or not the washing equipment generates wastewater. Moreover, regulations of total residual chlorine for effluents with high salinity (if using seawater as base) specify chlorine-formed oxidants as control items if an actual need for this is required.

The EPA emphasizes that it aims to encourage enterprises to properly operate wastewater treatment facilities and improve water body quality by putting enterprises with pollution potentials under control and also adding suitable control items and limits for effluents.
 

Soil & Groundwater Soil and Groundwater Research and Technology Procurement Conference2019-07-15

On 4 June, the EPA held the Cultivating Technologies for a New Era Soil and Groundwater Research and Technology Procurement Conference 2019. The conference exhibited technology developments in the areas of soil and groundwater. It also facilitated dialogue and exchange between private industries, the government, and academia for the purpose of improving field applications for technology and accelerating efforts to remediate polluted soil and groundwater sites.

The EPA stated that quickly recovering polluted sites has become its key mission. As such, optimizing and innovating the development of soil and groundwater technology is now one of its most critical tasks. The EPA annually budgets NT$30 million to encourage public and private universities in Taiwan to invest in research and development related to soil and groundwater. As of this year, there have been 129 international publications, 20 patents produced, and five technology transfers. The EPA has also successfully matched 43 pieces of technology to be applied at test sites. These developments have cultivated talented experts in soil and groundwater.

The EPA held this research and technology procurement conference to particularly focus on presenting technology developments and cross-field applications. As such, Taiwan’s experts and scholars in soil and groundwater were invited to share their research and demonstrate the potential applications for certain technologies. In addition, the conference provided a channel for exchanging technology. The conference brought together industries applying local technology related to soil and groundwater to effectively improve Taiwan’s polluted sites. Participants could also take advantage of the conference to forge ties with industries, the government, and academia, creating more market opportunities.

Air Amendments to Air Quality Standards Preannounced2019-07-15

To further improve the air quality in Taiwan, the EPA has revised the Air Quality Standards according to the current air quality conditions and international trends. The daily average PM10 limit value will be brought down from 125g/m3 to 100g/m3.

It has been five years since the air quality standards were last amended on 14 May 2012. In the last revisions, standards for both the annual and 24-hour PM2.5 concentrations were added. Hence, the determination methods for the compliance of the standards that apply to air quality control zones and total emission control zones were also revised in accordance with the changes. 

To gradually reduce smog and particulate matter pollution that have been raising public concerns, the EPA plans to tighten the air quality standards based on the WHO Air Quality Guidelines to serve as the basis of future reduction timetable and goals. The new standards will lower the daily average PM10 limit value from 125g/m3 to 100g/m3 and reduce the annual average limit from 65g/m3 to 50g/m3. 

To keep in line with international trends, the EPA will lower the maximum one-hour average SO2 concentration from 0.25ppm to 0.075ppm and also the maximum one-hour average NO2 concentration from 0.25 ppm to 0.1 ppm. Furthermore, the air quality standard for lead will be set at 0.15g/m3 as a rolling three-month average concentration. The new standard aligns with the current US air quality standard for lead, which is currently considered the strictest in the world. 

The new revisions to the air quality standards were formulated after taking into account of the current progress on air quality improvement and international research and studies on public health. By evaluating the differences in air quality standards between Taiwan and other countries, the tightened standards were designed to strengthen the implementation of air pollution reduction policies. 

Air Online Uploading Required for Trial Operation Plans2019-07-15

After reviewing the Regulations on Trial Operations and Assessments for Public and Private Premises, the EPA added a new stipulation requiring public and private premises to upload their trial operation plans on a designated website for the general public. 

The Air Pollution Control Act was amended on 1 August 2018 to include stipulations on the information transparency of trial operation plans. Therefore, the Regulations on Trial Operations and Assessments for Public and Private Premises will also be updated correspondingly to maintain regulation consistency. 
According to the current regulations, public and private premises are required to submit trial operation plans and other related documents before resuming the operation of pollution sources or business if it meets the following circumstances:
1.The premise is ordered by the competent authority to suspend the operation of pollution source, suspend work or business pursuant.
2.The premise is ordered to make improvements by the competent authority but voluntarily suspend work or business. 
Additionally, to ensure that stationary pollution sources comply with the emission standards prior to the resumption of operation, the regulations also include clear stipulations on the assessment procedure and standards of trial operation plans.
However, to respond to the current emission control status and management system, adjustments are to be made to the regulations. 


Other revisions to the regulations include:
1.Public opinions shall be included for reference in the assessment process of trial operation plans.
2.During the meeting for the assessment of trial operation plans, the minutes of the meeting shall be published on the designated website.
3.In response to the changes in the Air Pollution Control Act, the regulations will be renamed as the Regulations on Trial Operations and Assessments for Public and Private Premises Prior to Operation Resumption.

Air Amendments to Classes of Air Pollution Control Zones Preannounced2019-07-15

According to the Air Pollution Control Act, air quality standards shall be reviewed at least once every four years. Since the EPA is revising the air quality standards, the classes of air pollution control zones for special municipalities, counties, and cities will also be reevaluated to make adjustment based on realistic needs. 


The Air Pollution Control Act divides the air quality control zones into the following three classes:
1.Class 1 control zones refer to national parks and nature conservation areas as delineated by law. 
2.Class 2 control zones refer to areas whose air quality meets air quality standards, with the exception of Class 1. 
3.Class 3 control zones refer to areas whose air quality does not meet air quality standards, with the exception of Class 1.

After reviewing the current classification of the control zones, changes have been made based on the draft amendments to the air quality standards as follows: Changhua County has been reclassified as Class 3 PM10 control zone from Class 2, Yilan and Hualien County as Class 2 PM2.5 control zones from Class 3, and Kaohsiung City and Pingtung County as Class 2 O3 control zones from Class 3.

In accordance with the new control zone classifications, Yilan, Hualien and Taitung County are now considered Class 2 PM2.5 control zones while the rest of the cities/counties remain as Class 3. Therefore, the EPA will continuously strengthen the reduction of PM2.5 and precursor emissions to achieve phased reduction goals. 

Affected by the amended air quality standards that will tighten the daily average PM10 limit value from 100g/m3 to 50g/m3, the following cities/counties will still remain as Class 3 PM10 control zones: Changhua, Yunlin, Chiayi, Pingtung and Kinmen counties, and Chiayi, Tainan and Kaohsiung cities. In the future, the EPA will focus on the emission control of fugitive dust from paved roads and construction sites and open-air burning to better improve air quality and safeguard public health.