Technology is an important tool to accelerate national development and improve the welfare of mankind. Environmental protection technologies (EPT) are definitely 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 for drafting prospective and comprehensive plans. Also, regular evaluation and reviews of policies under practice are required. EPT research and development, therefore, function to formulate future policies and diagnose existing policies. EPT development and research serve as indispensable technical support for environmental protection.
The research of environment protection is an academic field that involves various aspects, and the studies are time-and-location-oriented. It requires the integration of prospective technologies to find effective solutions of 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 therefore encourages EPT research and other research that respond to the needs of society. The programs need the review and approval of the National Science Council and are parallel with annual policy goals.
The researches will 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.
Recently, new environmental protection ideas have been introduced, for example the lifespan of products, recycling resources, industrial waste minimization, corporate voluntary environmental management, green marketing, clean production and global environmental protection. In addition, the Earth Summit in 1992 and the World Summit of Sustainable Development in 2002 have waken the international community and elevated the level of EPT from public pollution prevention and treatment focusing on end-of-pipe treatment to the pursuit of sustainable development and sustainable use of resources.
The research and development of EPT involves a wide variety of government departments, including the competent authorities of industries, agriculture, forestry, aquaculture, stockbreeding, interior affairs, transportation and communications, healthcare, national defence, and environmental protection. The research of EPT requires the engagement of multiple departments across various academic fields.
EPA technology programs are drafted upward: the basic-level department submits proposals advertently according to their functions and expertise to their superior supervising department. The basic principles of the programs are integration, sustainability, regular review and embedding of national policies.
In light of the available human resources available for developing EPT, the EPA has not established an exclusive research institute for EPT so most research is outsourced to academic institutes or corporations.
In 1988, the first year of the EPA, the budget for technology development was NT$26.36 million dollars (USD 801,215). In the following two years, the budget increased to NT$65.89 million (USD 2,002,735) in 1989 and NT$261.19 million (USD 7,938,905) in 1990, and the budgets in 1991 and 1992 remained at over NT$200 million. Though the organic act of the Environmental Protection Administration includes an environmental institute, its establishment has not been approved, and research has been commissioned to contract researchers. This outsourcing method was not recognized by congress and the budget has been consequently slashed every year since 1992. In 1993, the budget was NT$132.83 million dollars (USD 34,432,522), and NT$89.70 million dollars (USD 2,726,443) in 1994; NT$90.91 million dollars (USD 2,763,221) in 1996. The budget remains at NT$40 to 70 million dollars (US 120 to 210 thousand dollars) from 2001 to 2007.
- Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)