To effectively prevent environmental crimes and illegal activities, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) of Taiwan continuously improves its environmental law enforcement strategies and methods. Through cross-sector collaboration among environmental, police, prosecution, investigation, and taxation agencies, the EPA has successfully uncovered multiple cases of organized environmental crimes spanning across different counties and cities. In recent years, the EPA has been actively promoting industry self-management, guiding businesses to proactively comply with the law and instilling the concept that pollution prevention is also profitable. This concerted effort aims to enhance the overall environmental quality.
The EPA stated that based on past enforcement experience, violations by businesses can be divided into two categories: those who knowingly break the law but hope to escape punishment, and those who unintentionally violate environmental regulations due to a lack of familiarity with them. In order to guide businesses in self-examination and emphasize the importance of compliance, in October of 2022 the EPA invited organic solvent processing industry operators from Central Taiwan to participate in the "Industry Self-Management and Pollution Prevention Promotion Seminar." During the event, to reinforce the understanding of business operators the EPA discussed common illegal practices discovered during inspections in recent years and the corresponding penalties.
The EPA also invited businesses that had previously received significant penalties for violations, but have successfully made improvements, to share their experiences in enhancing air pollution prevention measures and transforming mindsets. These businesses have stated that they have reduced the volatile organic compound content in their raw materials at source and upgraded their air pollution prevention equipment. As a result, they have significantly reduced air pollutant emissions, saving over 90% of their annual air pollution fees. Through active pollution improvement measures, these businesses have gained customer confidence, enhanced their reputations, achieved tangible benefits, and received unanimous recognition from industry representatives present at the event.
To promote the ongoing importance of pollution prevention and self-management, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) of Taiwan expanded its invitations in March of this year to waste generators in industries such as plastics, solvents, wood, and sludge. Four regulatory awareness seminars were conducted in the northern, central, and southern regions. The seminar topics included common patterns of illegal industrial waste disposal, the reasons for such occurrences, and relevant regulations in recent years. Also invited were representatives from leading domestic semiconductor companies and publicly listed waste transportation and treatment companies to share their management experiences in tracking the flow of waste as it is transported and treated. The goal was to encourage more businesses to implement self-management at source and reduce instances of illegal waste disposal.
Enhancing corporate social responsibility is currently a societal trend, and the EPA urges businesses to change their mindset and dispel the misconception that investing in pollution prevention equipment is a loss-making endeavor. Instead, businesses should focus on implementing self-management, improving pollution prevention equipment, and enhancing awareness and compliance. Once the concept of voluntary improvements regarding environmental pollution takes root in industries, frequent inspections by environmental authorities should no longer be necessary. Businesses will be able to operate with peace of mind, and environmental quality will see a significant improvement. The EPA hopes that companies will integrate pollution prevention into their corporate governance systems and work together for environmental protection and sustainable development in Taiwan.
Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, April 2023
- Ministry of Environment