Taiwan is surrounded by the ocean, and the coastline of Taiwan is around 1,500 km long. As a hub of international marine transportation, maritime traffic is busy in the region, and Taiwan needs to handle oil spills caused by shipwrecks or illegal oil disposal. Such illegal acts may lead to ecological catastrophe and affect the development of Taiwan's economy. The prevention of ocean pollution and setting up a complete system for emergency response are therefore top priorities for the EPA.
To effectively manage resources and prevent ocean pollution, the EPA undertakes the following measures:
A. Establishing a legal framework and response mechanism:
The government promulgated the Marine Pollution Control Act on 1 November 2000 and the Executive Yuan (Taiwan's cabinet) approved the Marine Oil Pollution Emergency Response Plans on 10 April 2001. The Plans and the Act provide the framework for the government to alleviate marine pollution. In addition, the EPA is designing a marine chemical pollution emergency response mechanism in response to "The Protocol on Preparedness, Response, and Cooperation to Pollution Incidents by Hazardous and Noxious Substances (OPRC-HNS Protocol)," which took effect in June 2007 at the global level, as well as in response to recent accidents of ships carrying chemicals in Taiwan' s maritime space causing marine pollution,.
B. Building Taiwan's capacity to respond to oil spills:
The government organizes emergency relief training programs, and authorizes competent government departments to organize basic training courses for staff in charge of marine pollution, to dispatch commanders to receive training in other countries, and to invite experts from home and abroad to participate in seminars. In addition, on-site training and drills are held to improve relevant staff's responses to marine pollution (chemical or oil spills) and to enforce laws on ocean pollution.
C. Preparing for marine pollution:
The EPA will renew and integrate its resources for the alleviation of marine pollution and purchase oil booms, oil skimmers, oil sorbent materials and other facilities, as well as construct oil spill recovery vessels.
D. Preventing marine pollution from land or ports
The EPA will actively inspect and monitor the operation of oil suppliers and transporters, and requests all ports in Taiwan to construct reception facilities for wastewater, waste oil, wastes and other contaminants.
E. Preventing the wastes of vessels from polluting the ocean:
The EPA upholds the principle of recycling and reusing resources to slash the approved volume of exhaust emission and incineration at sea. The EPA revised and promulgated the classification rules for waste emission at sea on 2 November 2006. According to the classification rules, dredging substances, wastewater and mud, fishery wastes and residuals from fishery processing, artificial substances for the construction of vessels or marine platforms, inert and inorganic materials, organic substances, steel and cement on isles can be dumped into the sea. Other substances are prohibited.
F. Preventing vessels from polluting the ocean:
The EPA will inspect vessels that upload, download, or carry oil, chemicals, or other cargo that may contaminate the ocean to prevent any intentional marine pollution. The EPA will encourage vessel owners to purchase liability insurance for possible pollution in order to make sure that that pollutants will be removed and compensation claimed in case of pollution.
G. Using different strategies according to coastal geography:
Advanced nations respond to emergencies based on the nature and gravity of incidents. The EPA refers to other advanced nations and investigates the environment sensitivity index (ESI) of all regions of Taiwan to edit a manual on the classification of Taiwan's coastal areas according to their ESI and standard operation procedures for on site pollution investigation.
- Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)