Environmental professionals are the keystone of environmental work, while environmental education personnel are seeds spread throughout every corner of society. The EPA and the Environmental Professionals Training Institute have been providing necessary training and certifying environmental education personnel. The aim is to promote and improve environmental education, so that the public’s awareness of environmental protection in organizations, schools, and communities will be raised.
Full implementation of environmental education and certification
(1) Mandatory environmental education at all levels
According to the Environmental Education Act, the staff of government agencies, state-run enterprises, schools, and foundations with the accumulated government-donated fund exceeding over 50% are required to receive a minimum of four hours of environmental education every year. As of 20 March 2019, that number came to a total of 345,366 people.
(2) Diverse promotion of environmental education
By holding various competitions on environmental knowledge, designs contests to show greater care for the environment, volunteers’performances, etc., the EPA has expanded public participation and environmental awareness via fun educational events. Meanwhile, the National Environmental Education Awards have been held to encourage personnel of government agencies and private institutes by publicly awarding them. For the 6th National Environmental Education Awards, a total of 176 organizations/individuals applied. After being evaluated by regional environmental agencies, 87 of them entered the second review, and 36 of them received an award at the end.
Moreover, the EPA has set up an environmental education information system and provided information on environmental education events. Also, a total of 1,851 pieces of data including teaching plans and e-books have been collected and put onto the online Environmental Education Library.
(3) Assistance and incentives for participation in environmental education
The EPA has held three meetings on details of receipts, disbursement, and project closure for various subsidization programs, for helping the subsidized (funded) organizations and schools to understand the purpose of the environmental education activities and the matters that should be noted when the funds are executed and disbursed. Other results that raised communities’ motivation to take part in environmental education included 23 on-site visits to provide advice and assistance by the executive units of the Community Environmental Investigation and Reconstruction Project and the Environmental Protection Promotion Project, one regional assistance meeting, and three community training seminars.
(4) Implementation of environmental education certification
Since the passage of the Environmental Education Act, the Environmental Professionals Training Institute has been actively carrying out three certifications, which are for personnel, institutes, and facilities and venues, respectively. As of 30 June 2019, a total of 13,899 staff members, 28 institutes, and 184 facilities received certification. Among them, 7,445 staff members were certified by the Ministry of Education.
Training of environmental professionals
The training of environmental professionals is carried out in accordance with the Basic Environment Act. For environmental personnel of environmental agencies in the government, industry competent authorities, and state-run and private enterprises, the Institute provides training in various pollution prevention technology, regulations, and administrative management. The purpose is to enhance the personnel’s professional capacity and project execution to promote and implement different government policies. And in accordance with relevant environmental laws, the industry or institution should set up dedicated (technical) professionals, and handle various environmental protection (technical) professional certification trainings.
(1) Enhancing training of environmental professionals
A. Training is carried out for environmental personnel working in environmental agencies at all levels, regulating authorities, enterprises, and organizations to enhance professional knowledge and technology. There are four categories of training for environmental professionals: technology, relevant policies and regulations, information application, and administrative management. Between January 2018 and 30 June 2019, 276 training sessions attended by 17,815 people-times were conducted. Combined with the sessions in previous years, the total attendance has reached 219,038 people-times.
B. Significant sessions among all training programs are as follows: Development of circular economy policies; industry case studies and international cooperation seminars; training for controlling fugitive dust air pollution from stationary sources; training for signatories of reports from environmental analysis organizations; environmental impact assessment training; toxic chemical accident prevention training; water pollution control laws and practices; environmental regulations seminar; coordination of air pollution control action plans; framework integration and execution; training for diversified garbage disposal; and training of practical environmental tasks for qualifiers in the environmental category of the Level 3 Senior Civil Service Examinations and Ordinary Level Civil Service Examination.
(2) Implementing certification, training, and management of environmental professionals
The EPA conducts training and certification sessions for different categories of dedicated and technical environmental personnel. Their responsibilities include air pollution control, wastewater treatment, waste clearance and disposal, toxic chemical substances control, environmental agents, pest control operation, visual inspection for air pollutants, instrument inspection for public and private venue-emitted air pollution, inspection of automobiles and motorcycles at in-use and idle status, noise inspection and testing in public and private venues, noise inspection for motor vehicles, instrument inspection for diesel vehicle-emitted smoke levels, professional testing and analysis of gas station vapor recovery facilities, inspection for automobiles and motorcycles’ control systems and idle status, and indoor air quality maintenance and management.
From January 2018 to 30 June 2019, 587 sessions were held with a total of 15,394 people-times. A total of 13,321 environmental certificates of various categories had been issued, reissued, and renewed, and 11 certificates revoked and annulled. Combined with the results from previous years, a total of 270,071 people-times participated in the training sessions, with 220,705 certificates issued and 919 revoked and annulled. Moreover, the EPA had conducted employment orientation training for dedicated and technical environmental personnel, resulting in 239 training sessions with 1,197 people-times.
Excerpt from Environmental Policy Monthly, 22 (8)
- Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)