Official Data-Taiwan among filthiest planets on Earth!

Dirty scooters are those ‘blue death machine’ trucks and the ‘dirty ink-spewing squid trucks’ (ew-tsay-chur -that’s my romanization of the chinese), are responsible for 70% of our pollution, I think. The police do nothing. I think you could come to a halt on a dirty scooter in front of the police station and rev the engine for 10 minutes, forming a napalm cloud in front of the station, and they’d think nothing of it, let alone give you a ticket, let alone even ASK you to bring it in to the shop to be fixed. Those foul fumes are now in every pore in your face, in your ear canals, in your eyebrows, in your hair, on your clothes, in your lungs, in your body destroying your sex drive and killing brain cells. That’s what it does. I went to Thailand with my girl, Taiwanese, for 3 weeks and we got busy more in that time than we did all year. Coincidence? NO! Gray skies, black air, and omnipresent construction noise destroys your sex life.

[quote=“plasmatron”]“noooo, not pollution… it’s just nice friendly water vapor, that’s all… you foreigners don’t understand Taiwanese weather.”… :loco:[/quote]That’s right. Just like the fact that no-one really farted in the elevator, and that scruffy laowai with the piercings is just teaching your daughter English… :wink: In these cases they are choosing to ignore something they can’t do anything about. In the case of the pollution, they’re choosing not to do anything about something they do in fact have control over.

To be fair though, the same amount of pollutants in the atmosphere here will look ten times as opaque as it would in LA, just due to the humidity.

[quote=“Formosan”]Until TPE finds feasible alternatives to scooters, aka filth-factory on wheels, we’re stuck with the air pollution.[/quote]A 2-stroke motorcycle makes visible smoke of unburned or partially burned hydrocarbons, yes. But, it still creates less total volume of pollutants than a Mercedes with a 3.5 liter engine. Guess which one is gonna get banned… :unamused:

I believe that is an urban myth and it doesn’t ring true subjectively either. Days the ratings are low smell fine with little visible pollution over the city. I know because I hike frequently in Mucha and from some areas I can see clear across to Yangmingshan. If the ratings were so skewed even a low rating would be (in fact) moderate in which case I doubt I would have 20 miles of clear visibility over the city.

Low pollution days smell and look about the same as being in downtown Vancouver. Both score about a 20 or 30.

I would hardly call Taiwan an environmentalist dreamland. Its a nightmare, especially if you have to deal with the government. It is fair that Taiwan is placed at the bottom of all of these lists. This government refuses to address their issues. They are only interested in what can make them famous. Where is the fame is saving a couple of species? No awards? No recognition of any kind? Phooey!

Taiwan needs to have the Pelly Amendment envoked again in order for this government to give it’s head a shake!

[quote=“Honour”]I would hardly call Taiwan an environmentalist dreamland. Its a nightmare, especially if you have to deal with the government. It is fair that Taiwan is placed at the bottom of all of these lists. This government refuses to address their issues. They are only interested in what can make them famous. Where is the fame is saving a couple of species? No awards? No recognition of any kind? Phooey!

Taiwan needs to have the Pelly Amendment envoked again in order for this government to give it’s head a shake![/quote]

No one called Taiwan an environmentalists dreamland. You’re mistaken there as you are to say that nothing is being done.

What about efforts to save the landlocked salmon or the blackfaced spoonbill? What about the moratorium on river fishing and the efforts of the EPA to work with volunteers to patrol the Keelung River watersheds for polluters and fishers? What about the removal of all pig farms from the banks of the Keelung? What about the cleaning up of the Love River in Kaohsiung? And the removal of illegal smelting factories along the Erjen? What about the EPA tests to clean up rice fields and close down those with high levels of heavy metals? What about recycling efforts in Taipei? What the fact that 12% of Taiwan is national park land? What about the dozen or more forest reserves established in the past 15 years? What about the bill cabinet is trying to pass that will outlaw all development in the high mountains?

Taiwan is no different from any other country in that environmental concerns did not become an issue until per capita income edged over $10,000 US. This is a clear pattern around the world. China is going through it now. If they buck the trend and start addressing the problem earlier it will be because they have the anamolous situation of having a free market overseen by an authoritarian government.

No, you are mistaken. I don’t think you have your priorities straight if you agree with the steps that have been taken by this government. The Blackfaced Spoonbill? Are you kidding me? 10% of the world’s population of spoonbills died in Taiwan. You should read reports published outside of Taiwan, in order to get the full truth out of that situation.

What about the moratorium on river fishing?

Do you think that is a priority if the island itself is suffering from a total collapse of fisheries? The rivers are important, true, but when the ocean surrounding the island is basically ‘dead,’ no sensible government would choose to ignore that. By the way, anyone on the west coast considering having fish tonight? Think twice.

“…the efforts of the EPA to work with volunteers to patrol the Keelung (Jilong) River watersheds for polluters and fishers.”

That’s great, what about the thousand of dead dolphins that come out of that port from poachers and driftnets?

“What about the cleaning up of the Love River in Kaohsiung?” If you expect me to clap for that, here you go :bravo: Rivers don’t stink unless someone is polluting them. If they were monitoring, that type of thing wouldn’t happen.

“What about the EPA tests to clean up rice fields and close down those with high levels of heavy metals?”

What about the mercury filled fish being consumed by people on the west coast. Any health warnings been issued? Internationally, yes. In Taiwan, no.

I could go on and on but I won’t. I don’t know how familiar you are with environmentalism and Taiwan issues, but we have priority issues and non-proriety issues. If something is threatening lives, especially human lives, it takes priority. I am happy about Taiwan’s recycle program, but what about bubbling dead ocean that surrounds Taiwan. What about the vanishing of a major food source for this island? This government puts the cart before the horse when it comes to dealing with their issues.

Taiwan is NOT like other countries regarding environmental issues. Even China has opened their door for international consulting. This government has let the Taiwanese down. This island is dying. That is a fact. What are they doing about that?

Taiwan has money. We’re not even going to argue about that!

by the way,

“What about the bill cabinet is trying to pass that will outlaw all development in the high mountains?”

D’uh, that is called zoning. Every country does it. If the government doesn’t know how to handle that then they are not suitable to lead, are they?

Right, Honour, that’s seven moves to address Taiwan’s environmental concerns that you’ve trashed without offering a single alternative.
What are your suggestions that would be so much better?
Taiwan’s environmental protection industry is young. Give it time.

While Taiwan is making progress on environmental issues, the situation is still pretty grim. The so-called successes such as the spoonbill and land-locked salmon are far from being shining examples of conservation.

Take, for instance, the Tsengwen Estuary near Tainan where hundreds of black-faced spoonbills spend the winter. The media fail to mention that that the whole area around the estuary is utilized for aquaculture, and that the estuary no longer functions as a natural ecosystem; almost all of the mangroves that once grew along the shoreline are no longer there. They, along with all the fiddler crabs (of which some are endemic) and other mangrove inhabitants, were replaced by concrete and stone walls that were used to impound the estuary so that the water table could be manipulated. The river that once fed the estuary is now diverted around it, and the fish that once came to the estuary to feed are now cut-off. Instead, the local authorities release fish into the

Exactly. Muzha Man’s post was therefore totally correct – [quote]No one called Taiwan an environmentalists dreamland. You’re mistaken there as you are to say that nothing is being done. [/quote]
Things ARE being done – slowly, in fits and starts, and not always in the most efficient manner, but things are being done, the environmental movement is being paid more and more attention, and young people are actually being taught in schools about it.
Honour’s casual dismissal of that is unfair, I feel.
The situation is pretty dismal – I don’t think anyone would really dispute that – but to say that nothing is being done shows an ignorance of the situation that seriously weakens your arguments, IMO.

It’s not so long ago in Australia that every mountain gully was filled with an old car or rusting refridgerator, much the same way as Taiwan’s mountain sides are strewn with old mattresses and furniture. That is something I believe that has improved and is being improved upon. Much however, could be done to educate people about the basics of littering. It still staggers me just how little concern people have for anything outside their front doors or bedroom doors for that matter if you’ve ever lived in a share household.

That level of concern cannot bode well for other environmental issues such as land usage, protection of waterways and the atmosphere. However, there have been some improvements in this area, but they do need to be followed up on. I think the crackdowns on polluting scooters and buses has had an effect. It might seem hard to believe if you haven’t lived in Taiwan very long, but it has improved incrementally.

The advent of an actual garbage collection system, albeit the worst system ever conceived more of a non-system system, was certainly a huge improvement over the dump it all at the end of the alley method.

The public works on parks has been too little but much appreciated.

I think the spoonbills died of botchulism poisioning, I don’t know if that could have been avoided. I think it was related to the drought and low water levels exposing mud to the heat and creating a ripe culture for the bacteria to grow. I remember reading something along those lines.

Whilst many water ways in Taiwan are not in very good condition, many mountain streams are, many more than you would think. In general, Taiwan’s mountain run off produces potable water.

I’m not a mechanic…but none of the scooters here have catalytic converters, right? That would be a huge step in reducing pollution.

[quote=“axiom”]I’m not a mechanic…but none of the scooters here have catalytic converters, right? That would be a huge step in reducing pollution.[/quote]There are some fuel-injected ones now. That reduces emissions.

CPI scooters have catalysts;

[quote=“CPI Motor Company”]The L.E.-TEC 4-stroke engine family (125 - 150 - 200cc) reaches the strict emission limits with it’s state of the art 4-valve-technology, but also by using a secondary air system combined with an oxidation catalyst.
In opposite to other technical solutions, CPI-engines are reaching the legal emission limits not at expense of less power or less torque. The L.E -TEC from CPI consciously till now is not using very expensive fuel injection system (in relation to the vehicle purchase price). All CPI engines are impressing with extreme low fuel consumption levels.
All CPI-models (excepted the ATV’s), since October 2002 will be equipped in serial version with stainless (INOX) exhaust systems, in order to solve the well known problem (which is increased through using an oxidation catalyst) of corrosion. CPI is the first producer, realizing this very expensive solution, also in the economic scooter market.[/quote] ( cpi-motor.com.tw/company.htm )
Hope this is not just in their export scooters.

I knew I shouldn’t have listed the protection of the blackfaced spoonbill as John is right that there has not been very good protection of the wetlands. However, I was thinking more of the money spent to test the animals last year for botulism. A government concerned only with winnign awards as Honor suggests would not spend money tesing birds for food poisoning.

On the other hand to criticize Taiwan for not protecting wetlands is a little unfair as few western countries have done better. I rememeber just how long it took and how hard the fight to protect Burns Bog where I live. It is now the largest natural bog system remaining in North America. It is completely anomolous to have such a huge wetland area remaining in an urban environment.

By the way, do you remember the ruckus the people of Pinglin raised when they foudn out that regular traffic could not exit off the new highway to Ilan? Do you remember the environment minister refusing to back down even after the town held a referendum on the issue? He said people could not just vote to do away with the results scientific studies. The rivers in Pinglin provide water to the Feicui dam and had to be protected. Here is another example that the tide is turning.

Heavy metal contamination is hardly unique to Taiwan. We have it even in as clean an area as British Columbia. Think the Mediteranean is any better?

[quote]"…the efforts of the EPA to work with volunteers to patrol the Keelung (Jilong) (Jilong) River watersheds for polluters and fishers."

That’s great, what about the thousand of dead dolphins that come out of that port from poachers and driftnets?[/quote]

Is it all or nothing with you?

[quote]“What about the cleaning up of the Love River in Kaohsiung?” If you expect me to clap for that, here you go Bravo! Rivers don’t stink unless someone is polluting them. If they were monitoring, that type of thing wouldn’t happen.
[/quote]

You can’t shout that nothing is being doen and then when an example is provided dismiss it. Yes, they should have been monitoring the river but they didnt. Now they are. That is progress.

Again, though how is Taiwan different here from any other country in the world that uses its rivers as dumping grounds? The Thames was dead for centuries before being cleaned up in the 80s.

Where Taiwan is different is in havign so few households hooked up to proper sewage lines. This is a serious issue and while every year more and more households are connected a lot more money should be poured into this. It’s a simple measure that makes a dramatic difference.

Here’s a quote from a recent TT article:

[quote] Last April, the US Food and Drug Administration finally coordinated its warnings on fish with more stringent EPA guidelines. But Vas Aposhian, a University of Arizona toxicologist, quit the FDA’s advisory panel, charging that its advisories fell short of the risk and that not enough controls were in place.

“The FDA is falling down on its job of protecting young women and children,” he said from Tucson. [/quote]

The whole article is here and suggests that most governments are not doing anything to warn their citizens of the health risks:
taipeitimes.com/News/edit/ar … 2003212904

[quote]I could go on and on but I won’t. I don’t know how familiar you are with environmentalism and Taiwan issues, but we have priority issues and non-proriety issues. If something is threatening lives, especially human lives, it takes priority. I am happy about Taiwan’s recycle program, but what about bubbling dead ocean that surrounds Taiwan. What about the vanishing of a major food source for this island? This government puts the cart before the horse when it comes to dealing with their issues.

Taiwan is NOT like other countries regarding environmental issues. Even China has opened their door for international consulting. This government has let the Taiwanese down. This island is dying. That is a fact. What are they doing about that?[/quote]

I would say that it is a concern of the present government to address the effects of long-term pollution. If the pan-blues would stop opposing legislattion a lot more could be done.

[quote]by the way,

“What about the bill cabinet is trying to pass that will outlaw all development in the high mountains?”

D’uh, that is called zoning. Every country does it. If the government doesn’t know how to handle that then they are not suitable to lead, are they?[/quote]

It is more than zoning, it is a strategy to help heal the mountains and overturn the effects of unrestricted development. This will help, among other things, to prevent slides and runoff polluting rivers that feed into watersheds that provide out drinking water. Again, if it passes, and it likely will, it is a sign of progress, a sign that the government is attempting to do something to heal the damage to the island.

Do they need to do more. Absolutely. They have not even scratched the surface. But I believe the thinking has turned and we will see more and more progress.

And the island is hardly dying. Given time to heal, ecosystems have proven remarkably quick to recover. Like Sandman said, the environmental movement is very young but it is growing. Will the island ever become what it was 50 years ago? No, but then again, no where else is either.

Doom and gloom is no longer a working solution to motivate people to care for their evironment.

TT article today about new laws to hopefully come into effect next year to reduce packaging on gifts. Big deal you say. But this, along with recycling and the ban on plastic bags and utensils has made a huge difference in the amount of garbage produced every day. Less garbage produced means less garbage incinerated which means less dioxin pumped into the air and soil. Since dioxin production is a major environmental concern you can’t pooh pooh this as not tackling a priority issue.

taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/ … 2003221383

All of this fannying about with plastic bags and sorting out your garbage, is, well, garbage.

In a fantasy world which will never exist, people in Taiwan would actually have some inbuilt sense that throwing your rubbish out onto the street or into a field or river is simply wrong. However, Taiwanese people simply don’t have that concept, so I prefer the Singaporean approach. Fine them.

However, the big polluters are the factories, and as they are owned by the same people who make the laws, it is more likely for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a big Taiwanese company to stop pumping shite into the rivers.

Two-stroke motorbikes. How is it difficult to ban them? There is no will to ban them. The shitty busses that the Taipei government bought about 10 years ago when they said they were getting Volvos. (Oh, I wonder where the price difference between the Volvo and the Eastern European rejects they actually bought went?)

When you give a Taiwanese person the choice between saving the environment or paying more tax to enforce laws against big polluters, they will chose to save their money. If that were not the case, in this “democracy” we have here, legislators would be drafting their asses off to prevent cement and plastics companies from polluting the shit out of the place. The focus must be on educating the masses on how much better things would be if they just gave a shit. However, I still think that anybody who can, leaves Taiwan, and in this sort of emigration culture who cares about what gets left behind? “I’m alright, Jack, pull up the ladder.”

Where do you think dead lead acid batteries go in Taiwan?

Where do you think lithium ion phone batteries go in Taiwan?

Where do you think used car engine oil goes in Taiwan?

Where do you think the extremely poisonous by-products of printed circuit and semiconductor manufacture go in Taiwan?

Do you realise Taiwan is still using R12 refrigerant in a/c and refrigeration systems?

How many Taiwanese people do you think know what R12 is or could give a fuck as long as it’s cheaper?

Who gives a flying fuck about some odd-looking bird when heavy metals and carcenogenic poisons are getting into the water supply?

Yes. A 3.5 liter Mercedes may produce more volume of pollutants than a scooter but check the composition of the exhaust from the German car. Also I suspect that there are far more scooter-produced, hazardous pollutants than that spewed from late model cars that are CAT-equipped.

Simply banning 2-strokes and phasing in LPG buses would make a huge difference. And black smoke should not pour out of diesel engines.

Though I agree that the environment should be #1 on everyone’s list, other people tend to think in short-term, human-centered ways. So, although banning 2-stroke engines in Taiwan would be beneficial to just about every aspect of Taiwan, when looked at from a purely human perspective (as most people tend to do), it would be a double edged sword.

IT would immensely improve air-quality, reduce noise, make sidewalks accessable once more, etc. BUT, could you imagine what the traffic/parking situation would be like in Taiwan had they no scooters. It’s already like 1scooter to every 2 people…imagine if you were to turn all of those into cars. Yeah, many people wont be able to afford it, but the public outcry of a ban, I imagine, would be huge.

I don’t advocate banning all scooters. Merely ones with 2-stroke engines, which are actually designed to burn oil as part of their normal operating cycle.

[quote=“axiom”]Though I agree that the environment should be #1 on everyone’s list, other people tend to think in short-term, human-centered ways. So, although banning 2-stroke engines in Taiwan would be beneficial to just about every aspect of Taiwan, when looked at from a purely human perspective (as most people tend to do), it would be a double edged sword.

IT would immensely improve air-quality, reduce noise, make sidewalks accessable once more, etc. BUT, could you imagine what the traffic/parking situation would be like in Taiwan had they no scooters. It’s already like 1scooter to every 2 people…imagine if you were to turn all of those into cars. Yeah, many people wont be able to afford it, but the public outcry of a ban, I imagine, would be huge.[/quote]

I believe all current manufacture 'scooters are 4-stoke and ones from 2003(?)- 2004 now meet emission standards, and are subject to checking, that look comparable with Californis (USA) emission standards which are very tight.
I do not advocate removal of 'scooters from the Taiwan scene. However removal of gross polluters is a very good step to cleaning the air up.