Taiwan started to control the import of waste beginning in the 1980s because the incineration of waste caused serious environmental pollution. Taiwan banned the import of hazardous waste in 1993, and started the management of the import and export of wastes under the frameworks of “Management Regulations for the Import, Export, Transit, and Transshipment of Waste” and “Standards for Defining Hazardous Industrial Waste.”
”Waste Import and Export Management Plans” and “Waste Import and Export Management and Response to the Basel Convention” were formulated in 1996 and 2000, respectively, serving as a foundation for Taiwan’s management of waste import and export. The Waste Disposal Act was revised in 2001 to cover the management of industrial waste and general waste, covering international conventions.
B. Important Measures
According to the Waste Disposal Act and the Management Regulations for the Import, Export, Transit, and Transshipment of Waste, importing or exporting waste requires permission issued by local competent authorities, or it will be considered as a crime and be referred to legal procedures.
(2) Online Application of Permission
To effectively control the disposal of waste abroad, the EPA requires exporters/importers to submit their permit application online through the Industrial Waste Control Center Report System. The EPA audits the import/export permit in accordance with Articles 4, 5, 11, and 12 of the Management Regulations for the Import, Export, Transit, and Transshipment of Waste, and then publicizes import/export permissions online. The Solid Waste Export Report System as a part of the domestic industrial waste application mechanism has also been established. Through the report system, overseas agencies can access the online information and submit applications online.
(3) Border inspections
Customs assists the EPA in investigating illegal imports and exports, and reports to the environmental protection departments when customs finds any breach of regulations. The EPA organizes seminars or symposiums on a regular basis to provide customs staff with a better understanding of the Basel Convention and management of waste import and export. The EPA further established a “Database of the Regulatory Information for the Import and Export of Waste” to enhance the capacity of customs staff.
(4) Overseas inspections
To understand if Taiwan’s exported waste is disposed of appropriately, the EPA visits the central and local environmental protection departments of the recipient countries annually and examines their local waste disposal agencies. The EPA delegation observes the environmental management and pollution prevention strategies of the agencies to determine how the environmental protection department manages waste and disposal agencies.
(1) Bilateral Agreements: Since 1994, the EPA has negotiated with certain countries to sign bilateral agreements according to the Basel Convention. In December 2005, Taiwan signed a bilateral agreement on the transfer and disposal of hazardous wastes, and the agreement came into force in 2006.
(2) Application for Exportations: In 2008, the EPA approved 43 export applications of hazardous wastes, weighing 61,638 tonnes in total. The majority of exported wastes consist of hardware that contains heavy metal. The recipient countries include: the US, France, Germany, Belgium, Sweden, Japan, Singapore, Korea, and China.
(3) Border Inspections: In 2008, Taiwan’s customs found 52 illegal imports and exports of wastes, weighing 1,167 tonnes in total.
(4) Learning from other countries: The government has dispatched delegations to: the US, Germany, France, Finland, Belgium, Singapore, Japan, South Africa, Korea and China, to observe how they dispose of the wastes exported from Taiwan, and principally whether the wastes have been appropriately disposed of.
The EPA will adhere to the principle of the Basel Convention to prevent the production of hazardous waste, dispose of the waste at the sources, and transfer the waste to other countries in ways that are safe to the environment. The EPA will assist in the establishment of waste disposal facilities to elevate Taiwan’s capacities to dispose of wastes domestically and reduce the exportation of wastes.
- Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)