There is no readily available data on environmental conditions during this period.
The government's rice-fertilizer barter program and the overuse of pesticides create a dependence on agricultural chemicals.
Rapid industrialization and lack of government regulation lead to a major decline in Taiwan's air and water quality. Untreated industrial waste flows directly into the rivers. Drinking water is contaminated with heavy metals and chemical runoff from farms. Factory emissions and increasingly heavy traffic cause severe air pollution.
Failure to develop an adequate sewage system brings continued deterioration of water quality. Three nuclear power plants are built, and a fourth is planned. A plant fire, the Chernobyl disaster, and other incidents raise public fears. Concerns about storage of waste and radioactive emissions grow. A burgeoning environmental movement stages protests against nuclear power and factory building.
The Bureau of Environmental Protection is upgraded to Cabinet level and is renamed the Environmental Protection Agency. The Taiwan Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a separate entity, is established by environmentalists to focus on nuclear power, the petrochemical industry, protection of forests, and land use.
Plans for a fourth nuclear power plant proceed. With nuclear-waste storage facilities a continuing problem, Taiwan seeks storage abroad. The Taiwan Environmental Protection Union (TEPU) organizes a 20,000-person demonstration, the largest in Taiwan's history, against the plant. Pedestrians and bicycle commuters don surgical masks to protect themselves against toxic fumes and particulate matter.
The National Council for Sustainable Development passes an environmental protection plan in 1998. Objectives include reduction of pollution, protection of natural resources, pursuit of sustainable development, and support of international environmental protection policies. In 2000 Democratic Progressive Party candidate Chen Shui-bian is elected president on a pro-environment platform.
Controversy continues to surround the construction of the Meinung Dam, the fourth nuclear power plant, and the Binnan Industrial Complex, which is slated to include a petrochemical plant and would threaten fisheries and displace wetlands. The government launches a campaign against street litter.
back to top