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Recent Issues By Topics
Soil & Groundwater First Groundwater Remediation Site with Chlorinated Solvent Pollution Delisted in 20212021-04-23

Achievements have been made in the groundwater pollution remediation of the Standard Chem & Pharm’s Plant II. Analysis showed that the concentrations of groundwater pollutants such as vinyl chloride, ethylene dichloride, dichloromethane and toluene all met the Groundwater Pollution Control Standards. The EPA therefore announced the removal of the groundwater pollution remediation site from the control list on 2 March 2021. This is the first case of delisting of a remediation site with chlorinated organic solvent pollution in 2021.

To ensure the safety of the nation’s soil and groundwater environment, the EPA conducted an investigation of soil and groundwater pollution at the Standard Chem & Pharm’s Plant II in 2012 and found that the groundwater was polluted with chlorinated organic solvents. In accordance with the regulations of the Soil and Groundwater Pollution Remediation Act, the Environmental Protection Bureau of Tainan City announced on 6 July 2012 that it was a groundwater pollution control site. After carrying out relevant investigations and necessary response measures, the EPA announced on 27 January 2014 that it was a remediation site.

The Tainan City Environmental Protection Bureau asked the company to propose a remediation plan. The pollution remediation continued for the ensuing six years, during which the EPA regularly invited experts and scholars to hold meetings to monitor the progress of the remediation plan. In December 2020, EPA personnel entered the site for verification, and the results showed that the concentrations of groundwater pollutants all met the control standards. As a result, the EPA removed the site from the list of groundwater pollution remediation sites.

Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, Mar 2021

Recycling Ample Processing Capacity Encourages Paper Tableware Recycling2021-04-23

In order to reduce waste at the source, the EPA continues to discourage the use of single-use products and strengthen the recycling and sorting of paper tableware. The effect has been increased significantly. Related information is as follows:

Paper tableware is not paper. Both paper tableware and paper should be recycled and they should be recycled separately. Paper tableware such as bowls, plates, cups, etc. are announced as recyclable containers. They are manufactured with their surfaces coated with a layer of polyethylene (PE) or wax to be water- and oil stain-proof. Therefore, their processing requires separating the plastic film from the paper and utilizing the plastic pellets (made from the separated plastic film) and pulp separately. The processing procedure is different from that of paper.

Paper tableware is worth recycling. The recycling and processing industry chain is also in place. After paper tableware is collected, it is sent to one of three professional paper tableware recycling plants. The total processing capacity of the three plants is 249,600 metric tons per year, which is far greater than the 159,897 metric tons of paper tableware recycled in 2020. Therefore, there is still a large remaining capacity for processing collected waste paper tableware. Paper tableware is recycled into plastic pellets and pulp, which can be used to produce plastic and paper products.

Strengthening the recycling and sorting at the source and promoting the cleaning, sorting and stacking with the Paper Tableware Recycling Friendly Store Program: The EPA continues to strengthen the public’s habit to sort and recycle waste paper tableware. In 2020, it promoted the program with all environmental protection bureaus, assisting and subsidizing buffet and lunch box store operators to set up special waste paper tableware recycling facilities, guiding them on ways to improve the dining environment, and educating the public to recycle. The maximum subsidy is NT$6,500. After the assistance, 2,900 buffet and lunch box stores (about 80% of the assisted) completed the installation of the facilities. In order to make paper tableware recycling more practicable, on 4 January 2021, the EPA preannounced the draft of Scope of Vendors Required to Set Up Paper Tableware Recycling Facilities, Facility Settings, Specifications and Other Compliance Measures, specifying that buffet and lunch box stores shall install a special recycling facility for paper tableware. The EPA’s goal is to promulgate it in the second half of the year.

Carrying out timely reviews to increase recycling incentives and the amount of recycled paper tableware. To increase the volume of recycled paper tableware, the EPA raised the per capita recycling subsidy for self-employed recyclers in August 2019, increasing the maximum monthly subsidy from NT$2,000 to NT$3,500. From March 2020, with Covid-19 spreading, economic activities and the global demand for crude oil was decreasing, and the decline in oil prices in turn affected the recycling and processing system’s supply chain prices, lowering the industry’s willingness to recycle and process paper tableware. As a result, the EPA raised the maximum subsidy from NT$3,500 to NT$5,000 per person for self-employed recyclers and kept it effective until December 2021. In July 2020, the EPA matched self-employed recyclers with the buffet and lunch box stores to collect paper lunch boxes. In addition, to raise the industry’s willingness to recycle paper tableware, the subsidy rate for the recycling and processing industry was increased from NT$7.25 to NT$7.86 per kilogram from 1 May to October 31 2020. Good results have been achieved in paper tableware recycling. In 2020, the audited and certified amount of recycled paper tableware was 159,897 metric tons, nearly double the amount in 2019 (80,645 metric tons) and the recycling rate has increased significantly from 44% in 2017 to over 85% to date.

Waste reduction at the source, promotion for the reduced use of single-use products. To reduce the use of single-use tableware at the source, the EPA is promoting “green life for all”, encouraging the use of reusable tableware and promoting rental services and sorting of recyclables in green night markets. It also encourages government agencies to use reusable tableware in meetings and educates people to practice “carrying one’s own, reusing and using less”, the three ways to reduce waste in the daily life.

Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, Mar 2021

Air Large Scale Load Reduction Implemented in Western Taiwan to Cope with Poor Air Quality2021-04-23

On 25 February, with easterly winds in the wind field, low wind speeds coupled with poor vertical diffusion conditions and eddy currents generated off the sea in the north, pollutants were blowing northward, resulting in a rapid deterioration of air quality in the Greater Taipei area. The EPA and various local governments immediately initiated load reduction measures for pollution sources in response to changes in the air quality. At the same time, the EPA requested Taipower to reduce the electricity output from its power plants in the western half of Taiwan by 20% from 5 p.m. of 25 February to 5 a.m. of 26 February. All parties were fully prepared to respond to changes in the air quality.

The EPA said that upon discovering that the air quality in northern Taiwan was deteriorating that day, it asked Taipower to reduce electricity output. For the next three days, all oil and coal-fired power plants in western Taiwan such as Hsieh-Ho, Linkou, Taichung, Hsinta, and Mailiao had reduced a total of 377 million kWh of electricity, which is equivalent to reducing the emissions from one month of electricity consumption in Kaohsiung City (1.12 million households). As for local governments, in addition to issuing protection advisories and strengthening inspections, Taipei City doubled the number of intercepted high-polluting vehicles, and instructed Neihu, Muzha and Beitou incinerators to reduce their loads by 20%. New Taipei City also instructed Xindian, Shulin and Bali incineration plants to reduce their loads by 20% simultaneously, and required 24 key pollution sources within its jurisdiction to reduce their loads and emissions, among which cogeneration generators should reduce output by 30% per day. Moreover, Taoyuan City notified the factories with emissions that are in the top 50% and 180 construction sites to strengthen their pollution prevention measures. Taichung City notified their top 30 largest factories to reduce their loads on their own, and the 21-power generation and cogeneration generators in Yunlin County implemented friendly output reduction and 18-49% shutdown. Overall, central, and northern Taiwan counties and cities mobilized quickly and actively responded to the poor air quality.

Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, Mar 2021

Air Hazardous Air Pollutant Emission Standards Promulgated for Stationary Sources 2021-04-23

On 26 February 2021, the EPA promulgated the Hazardous Air Pollutant Emissions Standards for Stationary Sources, giving priority to the regulation of 22 pollutants, and setting standards for the emission channels and peripheral boundaries for seven heavy metals and 15 volatile organic compounds. It is estimated that 89% of the emissions of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) from stationary sources across the country can be regulated.

In addition to setting HAPs emission standards for specific industries (such as solid waste incinerators, power generation, vinyl chloride manufacturing processes, etc.), it was also necessary to strengthen the control of HAPs emitted by the entire stationary pollution sources. The Hazardous Air Pollutant Emissions Standards for Stationary Sources were therefore formulated in accordance with Article 20, Paragraph 3 of the Air Pollution Control Act that was revised and promulgated in 2018. It stipulates that HAPs emission standards shall be set based on the results of health risk assessment and the feasibility of prevention technologies. By examining localized data such as the current state of industrial HAPs emissions and testing data in Taiwan, and referring to the carcinogenicity of pollutants, atmospheric concentration and testing methods, the EPA screened out priority HAPs to regulate and set standards for the emission channels and peripheral boundaries to promote the reduction of HAPs from factories across the country.

The EPA further stated that most of the pollutants that have not been included in these emission standards are still regulated by the currently effective Stationary Pollution Source Air Pollutant Emissions Standards.

Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, Mar 2021

Feature Article Ozone-depleting Substance Reduction Strategies and Results in Taiwan2021-04-23

On its work in controlling ozone-depleting substances (ODSs), Taiwan has always abided by the Montreal Protocol to align with the pace of advanced countries in cutting down ODS production and consumption. Both the government and industries have successfully achieved the protocol's production and consumption limits by formulating reduction strategies accordingly. For instance, Taiwan has reached zero halon (haloalkane) consumption since 1994.

Reduction plans

Taiwan has placed on its regulatory list all of the ODSs listed in the Montreal Protocol’s Annexes A, B, C, and E. In 1993, these substances were announced for control in the Regulations Concerning Control of Chemical Substances Listed for Control by the Montreal Protocol (管制蒙特婁議定書列管化學品作業要點) composed by the Industrial Development Bureau (IDB) of the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA).

Chemicals, divided into nine major categories, have also been added to the regulatory list afterwards, based on the Montreal Protocol’s agreements. The Chemical Substances Control List has detailed categorizations, substance names, chemical formulas, and their potential ozone-depleting index.

On the production or consumption of regulated chemical substances, the Montreal Protocol sets different reduction plans that include

<Baseline level> usually, a regulated chemical substance’s production or consumption amount in a specific year

<Freezing schedule> the time taken to lower a regulated chemical substance’s production or consumption amount to less than the baseline amount

<Reduction percentage> the time taken to lower a regulated chemical substance’s production or consumption amount to a certain percentage of the baseline amount

<Conditions for exemption> conditions in which chemical substances can be exempted from production or consumption regulations

According to Montreal Protocol regulations for developed countries (Non-Annex V countries), Taiwan's National Complete Reduction Schedule has been formed based on the focuses above. Other relevant reduction measures are also set based on these focuses.

Reduction progress

Out of the Montreal Protocol’s regulated chemical substances, Taiwan only produces hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) in Production Table C under Category 1. The production freezing schedule of substances in this category began in 2004, so Taiwan’s past control of HCFC production complied with the Protocol.

Formosa Plastics, the only manufacturer of HCFCs in Taiwan, stopped producing HCFC-141b and HCFC-142b in 2004. Its production of HCFC-22 only reached 80 ozone-depletion-potential (ODP) tons of HCFC-22 in 2005, and all production has been terminated as of June 2005. It marked the end of Taiwan’s HCFCs and ODS production in 2006.

For consumption, the government and industry have been working hard to meet the Montreal Protocol’s requirements. Consumption goals for many chemical substances were reached before 1996. Significant moments in the reduction journey include:

  1. haon has been at zero consumption since 1994
  2. consumption of methy bromide has been regulated since 1 Jan 1995
  3. CFCs, carbon tetrachoride, and 1,1,1-trichloroethane have been below-zero consumption since 1996
  4. HCFC alocations became effective on 1 Jan 1996 to freeze its consumption, set to reach zero by 1 Jan 2030

Reduction results: Analysis of ODS consumption in 2019

Complying with the Montreal Protocol, Taiwan has reported its ODS consumption data to the UN since 1994, which is the total of imports plus production minus exports.

Taiwan’s CFC consumption has been at zero since 1996, the level required of parties to the Montreal Protocol. That year HCFC consumption was also frozen, stopping at 84% of Taiwan’s baseline level. National HCFC consumption was 382.51 ODP tons in 2004 (65% of the baseline level required by the protocol), 152.56 ODP tons in 2020 (25%), and 59.35 ODP tons in 2015 (10%). The 63.119 ODP tons of HCFC consumption in 2019 was 0.680 ODP tons less than that in 2018. Image 1 shows Taiwan’s declining consumption of HCFCs over the years.

Measures to effectively cut down consumption include allocations and bans for specific uses in different stages. Effective bans so far include: all types of HCFCs in aerosol propellants and foaming agents in manufacturing processes; HCFC-141b in solvents or cleaning agents in the manufacturing processes; filling HCFC-22 coolants in the manufacture of new refrigerating or air conditioning equipment or new construction; and so on. Moreover, HCFCs have been banned since 1 Jan 2020 as coolant fillings in the manufacture of new refrigerating and air conditioning equipment and new construction. The goal was to lower the consumption to 0.5% of the baseline level and restrict its applications. Such practices will result in much fewer imports and limit the demand from domestic refrigeration and air conditioning equipment, leading to further reduction.

Regarding production of ODSs, Taiwan has stopped producing CFCs since 1996 and HCFCs and all ODSs as of 2006. As for imports in 2019, only 1039.223 metric tons (56.497 ODP tons) of HCFC-22, 320.000 metric tons (6.520 ODP tons) of HCFC-123, small amounts of HCFC-124 (4.360 metric tons, or 0.096 ODP tons) and HCFC-225 (0.250 metric tons, or 0.006 ODP tons) were imported.

In 2019, Taiwan exported only 12 metric tons (0.660 ODP tons) of HCFC-22, 7 metric tons (0.385 ODP tons) more than it did in 2018. The continuous export of HCFC-22, even with reduced domestic production, is estimated to be used for maintenance and coolant refills of refrigerating equipment on board fishing vessels operating offshore. On the other hand, methyl bromide imported after 1999 has been used only for quarantine and pre-shipment (QPS) purposes. There were 28.826 metric tons (12.616 ODP tons) imported in 2019, 20.276 metric tons less than in 2018.

Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, Mar 2021