Taiwan tackles air pollution

  • Date: 2018-07-10

Improving air quality and tackling air pollution—especially pollution from suspended fine particulate matter (PM2.5)—are among the government’s top priorities. Of Taiwan’s annual mean concentrations of PM2.5, approximately 34 to 40 percent originate outside the country’s borders, according to the Environmental Protection Administration, and while Taiwan cannot control foreign emissions, it can collaborate with neighboring countries to work toward a common solution. As for the remaining 60 to 66 percent originating within Taiwan, the government is working to make improvements across the board through a multipronged approach. It introduced an air pollution control strategy and an air pollution control action plan in April and December 2017, respectively, and passed amendments to the Air Pollution Control Act on June 25, 2018 to build a more comprehensive framework for regulating the quality of air people breathe.

Key amendments to the Air Pollution Control Act
►“Good neighbor” provision: Local authorities must consult with neighboring city and county governments to formulate plans for controlling air pollution that affects residents in downwind locations.
► At-source controls: The act strengthens at-source controls on fuels and products (including those containing volatile organic compounds) used by factories. Businesses are also required to use pollution control technologies that have the highest efficiency.
Tougher regulations on mobile sources of pollution: Local authorities have been authorized to designate air quality regulation zones (or low-emission zones) where access by high-polluting vehicles is restricted or prohibited. Also, emission standards for vehicles more than 10 years old may be tightened depending on air quality needs.
Heavier penalties for a wider range of offenses: Penalties and fines have been increased six- to 20-fold. Authorities may also recover unpaid air pollution fees from pollution sources going back five years, doubling the amounts payable as penalty.
Recovery of illegal gains, and whistleblower provision: Profits from illegal activities under the act will be confiscated and fines will be assessed against the violator. An informant reward and whistleblower mechanism has also been established to encourage employees and citizens to report criminal activity.