Focus on Environmental protection in Taiwan

Taiwan is one of the environmental leaders in the Asia Pacific region. Before this feat, Taiwan’s total commitment to economic growth produced one of Asia’s richest economies, but this achievement came at the price of significant environmental degradation.

The rapid industrialization and lack of government regulation led to a major decline in Taiwan’s air and water quality. Untreated industrial waste flowed directly into the rivers. Drinking water was contaminated with heavy metals and chemical runoff from farms. Factory emissions and increasingly heavy traffic caused severe air pollution.

Also, failure to develop an adequate sewage system brought continued deterioration of water quality. These and the building of nuclear power plants and the attendant nuclear waste they generate compelled the National Council for Sustainable Development to pass an environmental protection plan in 1998.

Objectives of the plan included reduction of pollution, protection of natural resources, pursuit of sustainable development, and support of international environmental protection policies.

Over the past years, Taiwan strived to build a systematic environmental protection framework that is both enlightened and comprehensive.

During this time, Taiwan enacted and implemented 417 environmental laws and regulations, including the Basic Law of the Environment, and has adopted the principles of all of UN’s environmental conventions and protocols for compliance. Plans are also now underway to elevate environmental conservation work to the Ministry level in our government with full integration of the environment, natural resources and global environment considerations.

Although Taiwan is not a Party to the Montreal Protocol, it has striven to control and phase out ODS proactively since the date the agreement ratified.

So far, its efforts in CFCs and Halons phase-out have all been quite successful. Taiwan has been steadfast in its duty to protect the global common, our only planet in the universe. This duty should transcend any political interests or disputes.

Like many other island countries, Taiwan will be adversely affected by the results of climate change. Thus, Taiwan hopes to work with the international community to mitigate the effects of climate change.

As a non-Party, Taiwan wishes to gain recognition from other countries, including Nigeria, for voluntarily taking local action for the global benefit. By sharing our common responsibility, we can together protect the earth’s environment and achieve sustainable development for our future generations.

In the October/November edition of SPOTLIGHT, we highlight some issues and challenges in Taiwan’s commitment to secure the nation’s environment, while contributing towards safeguarding global climate.

From the efforts of Taiwan, highlighted, one could appreciate the need for Taiwan’s official participation in UN Specialized Agencies especially the “United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change” (UNFCCC).

The people of Taiwan firmly believe we deserve favorable considerations in the matter of protection from adverse climate.