Open-air burning is a common contributor of local air pollution, and can cause more fires depending on atmospheric dispersion conditions. Additionally, smoke from burning can reduce visibility and pose danger to traffic safety and public health. Research shows that byproducts of open burning (e.g. fine particulate matters, heavy metals, and dioxins) can cause allergic reactions such as irritation of the eye and respiratory system. According to the information released on the Taiwan Emission Data System (TEDS), open burning produced 3,451 metric tons of PM2.5 annually, constituting about 4% of the total air pollutant emissions. Statistics also show that there were about 25,000 cases of open-air burning in 2016 and 2017. It is obvious to see that open burning can have significant effects on air quality and the quality of life.
To prevent open-air burning, the EPA collaborated with the Central Weather Bureau to strengthen environmental monitoring by employing advanced satellite remote sensing technology. By enhancing Taiwan’s real-time monitoring technology through the application of satellite remote sensing, the EPA was able detect the location of heat sources, which helped increase the efficiency of pollution investigation and law enforcement. However, satellite sensors are easily hindered by clouds and have a margin of error of one kilometer. Hence, by combining with civilian reporting, the EPA will be able to expand its monitoring range with fewer time and space restrictions.
In light of the above mentioned circumstances, the EPA is implementing the Incentives for Reporting Illegal Open-Air Burning Pilot Plan. The EPA encourages the general public to report any illegal open burning of straw, tree branches, or trash to local environmental protection agencies along with specific evidence that is clear and easily identifiable. EPA personnel can also investigate the sites of burning in person if deemed necessary. Each report will be rewarded with NT$100, and an extra NT$200 will be given if the violation is verified after investigation.
This pilot plan will last until the end of June 2018. Violations can be reported by using the EPA’s app or calling 0800-066-666.
- Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)