EPA Establishes Task Force to Control Dust Pollution in Ports


The fugitive particulate matter released while unloading commodities such as imported cement clinker in port zones can easily cause pollution if dust control measures are not properly implemented. Since air quality is typically poor in autumn and winter, the EPA requested the Taiwan International Ports Corporation (TIPC) to notify environmental agencies before clinker transport ships arrive at ports during the autumn and winter of 2019. In addition, the EPA and local environmental protection bureaus (EPBs) also conducted more frequent inspections. During this time, a total of 40 inspections were carried out, among which three cases of dust pollution resulting from loading and unloading operations were detected, and were penalized in accordance with relevant regulations. With the implementation of these measures, pollution in port zones has been significantly improved.

Since ports are often located far from the public eye, private port operators tend to disregard pollution control standards during loading and unloading operations, resulting in worsened air quality. The Public Construction Commission also expressed concerns over this issue and sought assistance from the EPA to reinforce port patrols for dust pollution. In response, the EPA joined forces with other central and local government agencies and established the Cement Dust Pollution Mitigation Task Force to perform joint inspections on loading and unloading operations in ports. Through the establishment of the task force, the EPA has demonstrated its determination in clamping down on improper ship-to-shore transfers. In addition, the implementation of the task force and joint inspections also helps raise awareness and promotes improvements among port operators and management agencies.

To enhance the implementation efficiency of the task force, each of the TIPC branches works closely with local governments and comes up with several distinctive strategies to assist port operators with pollution mitigation. For example, the Port of Kaohsiung took the lead by holding demonstration workshops on dust suppression using misting systems. To control the fugitive dust that escapes in the process of loading and unloading operations, the Port of Kaohsiung also assisted the installation of more than 50 high efficiency misting systems in ports all over Taiwan. Additionally, the EPA also conducts port patrols to acquire the latest information on dust pollution control.

To prevent the release of dust from loading and unloading cargos, the Port of Taichung has employed closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras to gain real-time understanding of port operations. In addition, they also work with the local environmental protection bureau to jointly promote pollution mitigation by holding the Pollution Mitigation for Dust Emissions from Loading and Unloading Operations in the Port of Taichung Workshop. To expand the pollution control capacity of port operators, the TIPC cooperates with the Maritime and Port Bureau to conduct joint inspections of ship-to-shore transfer operations in port zones at random times. They also formulated a set of standard procedures for loading and unloading operations, which is complemented with periodic meetings for rolling evaluations. Port operators are required to improve their existing air pollution control facilities and gradually bring in enclosed equipment to control air pollution at its source.

The EPA reiterated that port inspections will take place randomly to keep track of progress on air pollution control facility upgrades. The EPA also stressed that while penalty issuance is not the main purpose of the inspections, dust emissions in air pollution control regions that violate the Air Pollution Control Act can be fined up to NT$5,000,000.

Excerpt from Environmental Policy Monthly, 23 (5)

Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)
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