New Taipei launches pollution crackdown
By Chi-hao James Lo, The China Post
December 24, 2013, 12:14 am TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- To display the government's determination in safeguarding the environment, a special task forced led by New Taipei City Deputy Mayor Hou Yu-ih (侯友宜) yesterday demolished a factory found guilty of polluting the Hongshuixian stream (紅水仙溪) in the Bali district of New Taipei City.
Famous documentary Beyond Beauty - TAIWAN FROM ABOVE has brought environmental awareness to the Taiwanese people to levels beyond expectations. Issues circling violations and improvements has prompted New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) to instruct the implementation of an inspection team consisting of members from the Environmental Protection Department of New Taipei City Government (EPD) and New Taipei City Environmental Bureaus. Chu aims to enforce severe punishments to environmental offenders, with the power to shut down legal companies and to demolish those who are illegal.
The Hongshuixian stream was found to be heavily polluted in early September, with pollutants dying the water a dark brown. Contamination even went as far as the port of Taipei. Following the incident, EPD dispatched inspectors to conduct 24-hour surveillances on the coasts of the river. Aiming to find the origin of unknown pipelines, as well as the sources of pollution and possible suspects, the department also conducted air surveillance to aid in the cause. After three days of investigations, the department held Kun I Company (?釔公司), an unregistered company processing industrial sludge and acid wastes, to be responsible.
During the joint inspection toward the company on Sept. 26th, the department discovered over 100 tons of industrial sludge stacked out in the open. Four plastic storage tanks filled with liquid was also discovered, where after individual examinations, liquid in each tank was found to have a pH level of 5.0, 0.7 and 2. As any acid below the pH level of 2 are deemed as corrosive-hazardous industrial wastes. According to Hou, the company had illegally constructed pumps which discharged the mixture of industrial acid and sludge directly into the stream.
Upon violating the Waste Disposal Act for possession of industrial wastes with no legal document, as well as the illegal disposal of industrial wastes, the EPD referred the case to the Shi-Lin District Prosecutor's Office for an official indictment. The New Taipei City Government also planed to conduct soil and water examinations soon to determine whether if contamination control will be necessary.
Water Turns Crimson in Jiantan Pumping Station
Water stored in the front section of the Jiantan Pumping Station was discovered to have turned crimson yesterday morning. As the station was constructed close to the Keelung river, Taipei City Councilor Ho Chih-wei (何志偉), accompanied by members from the Hydraulics Office, The Department of Environmental Protection of the Taipei City Government (DEP) featuring agents from the Sanitation Inspection Division, rushed on site fearing contamination to the river.
Fortunately, after two consecutive measurements, the pH levels in the station measured neutral between 7.10 and 7.05, ruling out the possibility of strong acid and strong alkaline contamination.
Agents from the DEP was able to locate culprit behind the coloring last night. Wei Han Industry (偉瀚實業股份有限公司), a company located not far from the station, has been allegedly disposing wastewater into the sewage system illegally. The company has been shut down until further notice, with DEP agents to collect more samples for further inspection.