ROC, US laud re­sults of en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­gram

The China Post - - LOCAL -

Of­fi­cials from Tai­wan and the United States lauded the achieve­ments of the In­ter­na­tional En­vi­ron­men­tal Part­ner­ship (IEP) pro­gram at an ex­hi­bi­tion in Taipei on Earth Day Wed­nes­day to mark the first an­niver­sary of the joint ini­tia­tive.

The ex­hi­bi­tion was co-or­ga­nized by Tai­wan’s En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion, the U.S. En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency and the Amer­i­can In­sti­tute in Tai­wan (AIT) to chron­i­cle the pro­gram’s progress over the past year.

Tai­wan and the U.S. have co­op­er­ated on en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion since sign­ing an agree­ment in 1993 on tech­ni­cal co­op­er­a­tion in en­vi­ron­men­tal fields, said Wei Kuo-yen, head of Tai­wan’s En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion, at the open­ing of the show.

For the past 21 years, the Tai­wan-U.S. re­la­tion­ship on en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues has fo­cused on bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion, he said, and the IEP has helped ex­tend that co­op­er­a­tion to re­gional ef­forts.

“We all know that en­vi­ron­men­tal pol­lu­tion tran­scends na­tional bound­aries and the prob­lems can­not be solved by a sin­gle coun­try,” Wei said, adding that only by joint ef­forts by other coun­tries can the prob­lems be ef­fec­tively re­solved.

“That was why the IEP was launched last year,” he said.

Over the past year, 17 ac­tiv­i­ties have been con­ducted with the par­tic­i­pa­tion of 28 coun­tries, Wei said of the achieve­ments un­der the IEP that spanned air qual­ity, mer­cury mon­i­tor­ing, en­vi­ron­men­tal ed­u­ca­tion, and the re­cy­cling of elec­tronic waste, he added.

The IEP was launched dur­ing an April 2014 visit to Tai­wan by U.S. En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency Ad­min­is­tra­tor Gina McCarthy, the high­est-level U.S. Cabi­net of­fi­cial to visit Tai­wan in about 14 years.

The pro­gram is aimed at hav­ing the U.S. and Tai­wan share their en­vi­ron­men­tal ex­per­tise with part­ners in the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion and other re­gions of the globe.

U.S. En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency Act­ing As­sis­tant Ad­min­is­tra­tor for In­ter­na­tional and Tribal Af­fairs Jane Nishida at­tended Wed­nes­day’s event on be­half of McCarthy, and lauded the IEP’s achieve­ments.

De­tail­ing the progress of the IEP, Nishida pointed out a mer­cury mon­i­tor­ing project that has in­cluded sev­eral coun­tries in the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion to mon­i­tor the flow of mer­cury, which af­fects chil­dren and women of a child­bear­ing age.

“Through IEP, Tai­wan EPA has been on the front­line of this ef­fort by co­or­di­nat­ing with part­ners in Thai­land, Viet­nam, In­done­sia, Korea and Ja­pan so that we can begin mon­i­tor­ing mer­cury in the re­gion for the first time,” she said.

This co­op­er­a­tion will give a bet­ter pic­ture of mer­cury pol­lu­tion in the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion, she said.

Coun­tries such as Thai­land and Viet­nam are now send­ing their rain­wa­ter sam­ples to Na­tional Cen­tral Uni­ver­sity in Tai­wan for testing, she noted.

An­other fo­cus of the IEP is e-waste man­age­ment. With the grow­ing pop­u­lar­ity of smartphones and pro­lif­er­a­tion of new mod­els of cell­phones, deal­ing with dis­carded cell­phones has be­come a global en­vi­ron­men­tal chal­lenge, she said.

“Nearly 20 coun­tries have joined the E-Waste part­ner­ship. This net­work has grown be­yond the Asi­aPa­cific re­gion to in­clude part­ners in Ghana and Nige­ria in Africa and Ar­gentina, Brazil, Chile, and Colom­bia in Latin Amer­ica,” Nishida said.

“Through the pro­gram, agen­cies ex­change ap­proaches to man­ag­ing dis­carded elec­tronic waste so that they are more safely dis­posed of,” she said.

Un­der the IEP, Tai­wan has been shar­ing its ex­pe­ri­ence in re­cy­cling elec­tronic waste and turn­ing it into valu­able prod­ucts, ac­cord­ing to Wei.

Other projects un­der the IEP in­clude the Cities Clean Air Part­ner­ship ini­tia­tive that has brought to­gether 10 cities around the world, in­clud­ing three from Tai­wan, she said.

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