Taipei Ranked Second Overall in Siemens Asian Green City Index

Taipei Ranked Second Overall in
Siemens Asian Green City Index

By staff writer

Taipei City ranked second overall, scoring ‘better than average’ in 7 of the 8 categories surveyed in the first Asian Green City Index conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit on behalf of Siemens. Dr. Peter Weiss, President and CEO of Siemens Limited Taiwan, announced the results of the AGCI survey yesterday at a press conference at Taipei City hall. Weiss praised the efforts of the citizens of Taipei and the Taipei City Government under the leadership of Mayor Hau Lung-bin in working to make the city a better place to live.

The ‘Garden City’ of Singapore topped the list of the 22 cities in the survey while Taipei was grouped with seven other cities in a second tier and placed second overall. In the area of land use and buildings, Taipei chalked up one of the highest rates of green space per person. The city also garnered points for its strong policies regarding green standards for public buildings.

In transportation, Taipei was touted for the third longest superior transportation network among the 22 cities. Once more Taipei scored high in the area of policy, where the study cited the city for its comprehensive congestion reduction measures.

One problematic area for Taipei was in water, with Taipei citizens showing a relatively high rate of water usage. The city also lost points because of the 22 percent rate of loss in the water supply system.

Taipei stood out in the waste category with the second lowest rate among the 22 cities. Taipei claims an estimated 100% of collection of waste through its collection and recycling programs. Siemens’ AGCI points up a couple of programs that have helped the city to improve its waste collection and treatment system. The ‘Pay as you throw’ system requires residences and businesses to use pre-paid collection bags for its garbage collection trucks, which serves several purposes including a higher rate of separation of household waste from recyclable products and also as a means of defraying the cost of collection by the city. Another laudable program is Taipei’s “Repaired Furniture Display Area”, which offers reconditioned items collected by the municipal sanitation department and so far has earned US$300,000 on sales of furniture, bicycles and other goods.

In other areas, Taipei ranked above average in sanitation with 99% access to sanitation among its citizens and treatment of 75% of sanitary waste in the city. Air quality in Taipei city is above average, with nitrogen oxygen levels comparable to the 22-city average while SO2 levels stand at about one-third the average – all despite problems such as sandstorms from the Chinese mainland and Taipei’s geographical status as a basin ringed on three sides by mountains. Finally, Taipei gets high marks for having a dedicated department that deals with environmental issues and a city government which usually manages to work out inter-departmental differences in the interest of environmental protection.

Siemens’ Weiss lauded Mayor Hau and the people of Taipei for all that they have done to make the city greener, adding that on a personal note he and his family have enjoyed living and working and studying in Taipei. Mayor Hau in turn gave much of the credit for Taipei’s green accomplishments to its citizens. He noted that the people have been responsible for much of the work that has gone into improving the city’s environment, and when asked how the government planned to upgrade Taipei’s performance in the category of water, he replied that the government’s first priority in lowering water usage rates and making better use of water resources is to ‘encourage’ the people and businesses not to waste water, not to pollute water sources, and to recycle as much as possible in water and other areas as well.

Mayor Hau noted the many improvements that have made Taipei a more livable city over the past decade or so, pointing with pride that while the city once utilized three incinerators to burn collected trash, it is now able to run them one at a time on a rotating basis due to better collection methods and increased recycling. He added that a district of the city which one suffered an eyesore known as ‘Garbage Mountain’ has now converted the area into a greenbelt and park now that the generation and handling of waste is under better control.

Dr. Weiss noted that Siemens commissioned the Economist Intelligence Unit to carry out the AGCI for three principal reasons. First, Siemens wants the cities to see where they stand in relation to the other cities in the survey. Secondly, the study is intended as an aid for the cities in developing and implementing policies that will help to make them greener. And third, the index also provides Siemens with a guideline in developing and promoting technologies that can be used by cities to improve their environments.

Taipei was recognized at the World Expo in Shanghai last year for the great strides it has made in environmental protection and awareness among its citizens. While acknowledging the encouraging results of the Siemens/EIU study, Mayor Hau cautioned, however, that the city cannot afford to sit on its laurels and must continue to work toward building a greener home for its citizens. The mayor welcomed Siemens’ interest in Taipei and the other cities of Asia and expressed his hope that the city can cooperate with the German technological giant to find new ways to keep Taipei green. As he put it, “The ultimate goal is to transform Taipei into a green city that will shine like a beacon for the whole world to see.”

For more information on Siemens and the AGCI please check the Siemens website at www.siemens.com/greencityindex