On 29 July, the EPA preannounced the draft revisions for categories and emission limits of hazardous air pollutants from stationary sources. The draft adds emission limits for 18 hazardous air pollutants, tightens the limit for one pollutant, and newly adds 23 pollutants that must be emitted from regulated exhaust pipes. The aim is to properly reduce and control health risks caused by hazardous air pollutants and deter enterprises from making illegal discharges.
Although hazardous air pollutants pose significant risks to human health, some enterprises illegally discharge them by rerouting them. This has led to the current revisions aimed at enhancing controls on hazardous air pollution. The draft revisions align with the Hazardous Air Pollutant Emission Standards for Stationary Sources (固定污染源有害空氣污染物排放標準) announced on 26 February 2021, which designate emission standards concerning 22 hazardous air pollutants. Referencing all pollutants covered by the Standards, the revisions expand the scope of emission limits and will include emission limits for dioxins plus 22 other hazardous air pollutants, namely: ethylene dichloride, butadiene, ethylbenzene, xylene, dichloromethane, trichloroethene, chloroform, hexavalent chromium, acrylonitrile, tetrachloroethylene, carbon tetrachloride, toluene, formaldehyde, mercury, benzene, styrene, arsenic, vinyl chloride monomer (VCM), beryllium, lead, chromium, and nickel.
To tighten controls on enterprises that illegally emit hazardous air pollutants, the revisions classify emissions either as discharged through exhaust pipes, or as illegal clandestine discharges. Aiming to deter illegal acts, revised regulations are to be announced and will thereupon immediately take effect.
In the Air Pollution Control Act (空氣污染防制法), the newly added Article 53 states that “if public and private premises with stationary pollution sources that emit air pollutants through exhaust pipes violate the standards for air pollutant emission limits which are determined pursuant to Article 20 subparagraph 2, and thereby cause harm to human health or death, they shall be punished with a maximum of seven years imprisonment and may be fined a sum of not less than NT$1 million and not more than NT$15 million.” The regulatory limits will be used to determine whether an enterprise’s acts of emitting hazardous air pollutants violate Article 53.
The emission limit of an air pollutant is set by calculating emission concentration in exhaust pipes using the environmental risk index as a basis, in combination with an air dispersion model. An air pollutant’s environmental risk after being emitted from exhaust pipes is quantified as one ten-thousandth (0.0001 times) of the highest concentration of the pollutant on ground surfaces of surrounding environments. This is the upper threshold that an individual is able to withstand under long-term exposure to any given air pollutant in the atmosphere throughout the person’s whole life, and human health is at risk if the concentration is above such a threshold. Additionally, a pollutant’s emission limit through illegal exhaust pipes is set at 1/100th of that through legal exhaust pipes in consideration of calculation of fines for violators.
Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, August 2022
- Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)