A 15-member delegation from South Korea was in Taiwan from 16 to 20 December 2019 for events related to the Taiwan-South Korea Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Soil and Groundwater Protection. Events included the MOU’s 10th Steering Committee Meeting and technical forums. Led by Young-Hoon Kim, Director of South Korean Ministry of Environment (MOE) Integrated Water Management Bureau, the delegates included Korean experts and scholars of soil and groundwater protection from both the public and private sectors. This bilateral MOU has set a foundation for international cooperation among different markets and regions.
The EPA and the South Korean MOE signed the Taiwan-South Korea MOU on Soil and Groundwater Protection on 27 August 2012. It has opened up opportunities for technological exchanges on soil and groundwater protection issues and built a mutually beneficial cooperation mechanism in the international market.
EPA Executive Director Huichen Chien noted that, in regard to Taiwan-South Korea technological cooperation on soil and groundwater protection, the annual steering committee meeting continued to create win-win situations via this platform. Moreover, it further strengthened official relations and facilitated exchanges and sharing of environmental policies and technological innovations on both sides. In the meantime, both the EPA and the MOE have jointly promoted multiple industrial and academic cooperation programs that cover diverse pollution sites’ management, gas station pollution remediation, onsite and offsite remediation for petroleum products, and remediation and control of heavy metal pollution of groundwater. Both sides have also gone from learning from each other to progressing together. The ongoing joint research on smart groundwater control is a good example of this.
As of the end of November 2019, there were a total of 8,713 polluted sites in Taiwan, and 5,980 sites, accounting for 69%, have completed remediation and been taken off the control list. The remaining 2,733 sites (31%) are still on the pollution control list. Furthermore, 2,349 sites under control are farmlands. All polluted farmlands are expected to be delisted by the end of 2021. The regional competent authorities are in charge of supervising businesses on their remediation work at industrial pollution sites based on the Soil and Groundwater Pollution Remediation Act.
The 2019 exchange activities began in the morning on 17 December with Executive Director Huichen Chien and Director Young-Hoon Kim going through the items on the MOU together. On 18 December, Taiwanese and Korean experts and scholars attended the technological forum and had extensive discussions on academic and industrial cooperation programs, innovative technology of soil and groundwater investigation and remediation. Both countries are able to combine their respective research capacity via the forum. For instance, Taiwan has expertise in onsite remediation technology, while South Korea’s strength lies in offsite treatment, and such occasions offered a chance to find ways to cooperate and mutually benefit each other. Finally, under the MOU structure, Taiwan and South Korea have gained understanding of each other to an extent by exchanging experiences on soil and groundwater protection management, policies and technology. It is hoped that both countries’ capacity in pollution remediation will increase, and these long-term bilateral achievements will make a solid foundation for potential regional cooperation in the future.
Excerpt from Environmental Policy Monthly, 23 (1)
- Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)