To ascertain the air, water, and waste pollution potential and to proactively prevent the spread of pollution, the EPA showcased the "Smart Fence System" on 19 July, and planned to seek funding from the Executive Yuan. The EPA aimed to gradually set up 4,000 smart fence device points to monitor air, water, and waste pollution over a span of six years. Internet of Things (IoT) monitoring equipment and AI analysis modules will be used to enable pollution prevention and timely enforcement actions.
The EPA indicated that society has entered the digital era, and environmental law enforcement shall also keep pace by evolving into "remote enforcement." After the EPA is restructured as the Ministry of Environment, the Environmental Management Administration is established, making remote enforcement a crucial policy, and strategically planning with forward-thinking to devise comprehensive environmental improvement strategies. This will transform Taiwan's approach to environmental quality management from "pollution control" to "prevention management." The most significant transformation will involve shifting from a passive to a proactive approach, systematically addressing environmental issues.
The EPA will utilize technology and employ the Smart Fence System for remote enforcement, enabling real-time handling of pollution incidents to prevent further spread of pollution. It plans to install remote monitoring devices at critical locations in pollution hotspots, creating a sweeping network to ascertain the air, water, and waste pollution potential.
Monitoring equipment for illegal waste dumping, air pollution, and water pollution has been gradually established, and the Smart Fence Program will move towards more systematic planning. The EPA plans to set up 4,000 smart fence device points over a period of six years. The initial plan includes setting up 3,200 monitoring points at 120 air pollution hotspots, 200 monitoring points at 100 water pollution hotspots, and 600 monitoring points for illegal waste dumping hotspots, among which 400 points will be located near 200 highway exits (national and provincial highways) and 200 points will be located along roads in areas with high rates of waste dumping.
The system will be able to take information collected by on-site Internet of Things (IoT) devices and transmit it to an AI module. The AI module then analyzes the degree of risk posed by abnormal pollution patterns, automatically sends out alerts, and notifies the relevant inspection unit.
The Smart Fence System for air pollution hotspots will deploy graded air sensors based on different environments and specific air pollutant requirements to promptly detect pollution. For water pollution hotspots, the system will deploy water quality sensors at channel nodes near monitoring zones or upstream and downstream drainage points to constantly monitor watershed water quality. The system for illegal dumping will monitor waste clearance and transportation vehicles simultaneously. It will install license plate recognition systems at dumping hotspots and crucial road sections to quickly identify abnormal waste disposal activities.
The EPA emphasized that compared to the traditional method of investigating individual cases, where inspectors have to wait like cats trying to catch mice and rely on their experience to investigate after detecting abnormal pollution, the Smart Fence mechanism will cross-reference information in the system's database, such as processes and materials used by each factory in industrial parks, and the AI will compute a risk list, allowing inspectors to conduct enforcement with precision and efficiency.
Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, July 2023
- Ministry of Environment