The EPA stated that the Penghu County disposes approximately 18,000 tons of household garbage every year, which is shipped to and treated in Kaohsiung and other counties and cities on the main island of Taiwan. Unfortunately, on 9 January 2018, an accident occurred in an incinerator in Kaohsiung while annual maintenance was being carried out at incinerators in other counties and cities. The sudden drop of incinerating capacity led to the inability to dispose of Penghu's garbage, which had to be temporarily placed in legal local landfills. Certain counties and cities assisted to incinerate one-third of the trash under coordination by the EPA.
Minister Lee particularly stressed the importance of environmental quality on offshore islands, which are all designated tourist areas. The EPA will fully assist Penghu on garbage issues as it has been listed as a key area by the central government. Assistance is provided in three stages to handle local trash.
For the short term, there are efforts to continually coordinate counties and cities with incinerators to help out while the county uses existing legal landfills to store waste temporarily and carries out sanitation and sterilization. Regional governments are required to ensure garbage is properly bagged to prevent odor and scattering and greatly lower the impact on the surrounding environment. During Minister Lee’s visit, the county hall was asked to promptly propose a budget for improvement so that the EPA could quickly evaluate it and appropriate needed funds in order to effectively handle temporary garbage placement. Meanwhile, the local environmental bureau and Huxi Town Hall have been asked to quickly submit improvement plans concerning Hongluo Landfill and transfer stations. The EPA will then make a plan to assist all in an efficient manner.
Mid-term goals focus on effectively reducing garbage and cutting down shipping and treatment costs. The Penghu Environmental Bureau is asked to present to the EPA trial plans for mechanical biological treatment (MBT) or mechanical treatment (MT), which are able to transform wastes into refuse-derived fuels (RDFs). As a result, it will gradually reduce its dependence on other counties and cities for waste disposal.
As for long-term goals, the EPA will first assist regions that have no incinerating facilities or operations, such as Penghu County, to set up local biomass energy generators using MBT or gasification under the Diversified Garbage Disposal Plan (多元化垃圾處理計畫). Waste can be transformed into fuel and be applied in energy generation, turning garbage disposal crises into opportunities for renewable energy.
- Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)