ROC, US ink environment cooperation pacts

Taiwan and the U.S. have concluded three agreements on environmental protection and atmospheric monitoring, according to the ROC Environmental Protection Agency July 18.

“The pacts allow the two sides to enhance clean energy development, improve air quality and monitor the atmosphere through information exchanges, personnel training, visits and seminars,” an EPA official said.

The agreements were signed July 16 in Washington on behalf of the EPA, U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency by Jacob Ta-tung Chang, ROC deputy representative to the U.S., and Barbara Schrage, managing director of the American Institute in Taiwan.

One of the pacts is an extension of the AIT-TECRO agreement for technical cooperation. First signed June 21, 1993, the pact has been extended every five years and will run until 2018.

“The EPA and its U.S. counterparts have cooperated on over 190 projects, which have effectively enhanced Taiwan’s techniques in managing issues related to air, hazardous waste, soil and water,” the official said.

With regard to air quality, the rate for pollutant standards index measurement days exceeding 100 was 0.97 percent in 2012, down from 17 percent when the EPA was established in 1987, the official said, adding that the daily per capita garbage clearance volume has dropped from 1.14 kilograms in 1997 to 0.4 kg in 2012.

“Through joint efforts between the two sides in promoting regional environmental protection collaboration, environmental officials from Taiwan and 18 countries have exchanged experiences in managing electronic waste, monitoring mercury pollution, and remedying soil and groundwater pollution.”

A regional partnership network has also been set up to curb cross-border pollution from impacting public health and environment. Under this agreement, the second environmental pact, Implementing Arrangement No. 10, was inked to facilitate relevant program activities, the official said.

Such works include fighting climate change by limiting pollutants, building strong environmental institutions and legal structures, improving air quality, expanding access to clean water, reducing exposure to toxic chemicals, reducing hazardous waste and cleaning up e-waste.

The third pact, a TECRO-AIT agreement on technical cooperation in atmospheric monitoring, clean energy and environmental science, aims to strengthen both sides’ knowledge and ability to analyze environmental impact stemming from energy production and use. 

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