Taiwan eyeing Formosa Plastics' environmental track record

October 17, 2011

Taiwan's Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) has promised to instruct management at the country's sixth biggest naphtha cracker in Yunlin County, southern Taiwan, to comply with an environmental assessment report.

The EPA's minister, Stephen Shen, was responding to criticisms that the EPA was not doing enough to protect the environment and the health of the people around Formosa Plastics' plant.

Opposition Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tien Chiu-chin cited a report published by National Taiwan University that residents in the area have higher chances of contracting cancer and terminal illnesses. They also have significantly lower lung capacity compared with those who live outside a 10-km radius of the plant, she said.

In response, Shen said the EPA is doing its job as it has instructed the Yunlin county government to order a closure of questionable plants at the complex.

He told reporters after the meeting, however, that the EPA cannot act simply based on one single report and that it will take into account other reports published by epidemiology specialists and relevant organisations before making improvement demands.

After seven public safety incidents over the last year alone at the complex in the county's Mailiao Township, operations of several plants there have been suspended.