Technology is an important tool to accelerate national development and improve the welfare of humankind. Environmental protection technologies (EPT) are a key to solving complicated problems like environmental pollution. The formulation of environmental protection policies is closely associated with the research and development of EPT. In the process of formulating environmental protection policies, environmental information and research results are necessary in drafting prospective and comprehensive plans. Moreover, regular evaluation and reviews of policies under implementation are required. As indispensable technical support for environmental protection, EPT research and development serve to both formulate future policies and diagnose existing policies.
Environmental research involves various fields, and the studies are time-and-location-oriented. It requires the integration of prospective technologies to find effective solutions to environmental management problems. Based on national environmental protection programs, national science technology development programs, and resolutions and conclusions reached in national technology conferences and technology consultation conferences, the EPA encourages EPT research as well as other research that responds to the needs of society. The programs are designed to echo annual policy goals, and must be reviewed by the Ministry of Science and Technology and approved by the Executive Yuan.
The research should focus on sustainable development and prospective environmental technology research and development, eliminating environmental pollution and studies on technical regulations, disaster prevention, disaster relief, disaster response systems, environmental inspection, and international EPT cooperation.
New environmental protection ideas such as the lifecycle analysis, recycling resources, industrial waste minimization, corporate voluntary environmental management, green marketing, clean production and global environmental protection have been introduced recently. In addition, the Earth Summit in 1992 and the World Summit of Sustainable Development in 2002 have awakened the international community and elevated the level of EPT from a focus on public pollution prevention and end-of-pipe treatment to the pursuit of sustainable development and sustainable use of resources.
The research and development of EPT involve a wide range of government departments, including the competent authorities responsible for industries, agriculture, forestry, aquaculture, stockbreeding, interior affairs, transportation and communications, healthcare, national defense, and environmental protection. EPT research also requires the engagement of multiple academic fields.
EPA technology programs are drafted from the bottom up: an individual department may submit a proposal according to its functions and expertise to its supervising department. The guiding principles of the programs are integration, sustainability, regular review and reflection of national policies.
Regarding the available human resources for developing EPT, since the EPA has not established an exclusive research institute for EPT, most research is outsourced to academic institutes or corporations.
In 1988, a year after the establishment of the EPA, the budget for technology development was NT$26.36 million (USD801,215). In the following two years, the budget increased to NT$65.89 million (USD2,002,735) in 1989 and to NT$261.19 million (USD7,938,905) in 1990, and the budgets in 1991 and 1992 surpassed NT$200 million. The budget was NT$132.83 million (USD34,432,522) in 1993, NT$89.70 million (USD2,726,443) in 1994; and NT$90.91 million (USD2,763,221) in 1996. From 2001 to 2007 the budget oscillated between NT$40 and 70 million (USD120,000 and 210,000). The budgets between 2016 to 2021 were about NT$100 million (USD3 mlllion ). The above EPA annual budgets do not include budgets of other government agencies.
- Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)