he EPA recently worked with the Department of Environmental Protection of the Taoyuan City Government to crack down on a bus company that illegally altered the emission control equipment on its vehicles. The alteration impaired the emission control system and hence caused air pollution. The bus company was requested to repair the vehicles and ensure that the equipment operated correctly. The company has made improvements and paid its fines in accordance with the law. Any other parties involved in the alteration process will also receive heavy penalties based on current regulations.
The EPA explained that vehicles are equipped with selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems to reduce NOx emissions. To save expenses on maintenance and repair and to reduce the use of urea, the bus company made unpermitted alterations to their vehicles, which impaired the SCR and hence endangered public health. As a result, the company owners were fined between NT$10,000 to NT$60,000 in accordance with Article 37 paragraph 1 of the Air Pollution Control Act. Any other businesses that assisted in making the alterations to the air pollution control equipment would also be punished as accomplices based on Article 14 of the Administrative Penalty Act.
Moreover, since the air pollution control equipment was intentionally altered to evade the provisions of the law, the offenders were charged for causing the emission of harmful air pollutants, in accordance with Article 190-1 paragraph 2 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of China. The offenders can be sentenced up to seven years in prison and be imposed with a fine of up to NT$15 million.
The EPA stressed that NOx emissions from diesel vehicles are precursors of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and ozone (O3), which have adverse effects on both air quality and human health. To safeguard air quality, the emission control equipment on vehicles shall not be uninstalled or altered and shall remain operative at all times.
Excerpt from Environmental Policy Monthly, 23 (7)
- Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)