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Government could get tough on air pollution -- by lowering fines

Government could get tough on air pollution -- by lowering fines

Taipei, March 19 (CNA) The government's environment watchdog is considering a new way to crack down on the pollution caused by the country's millions of motorcycles -- by lowering the fines for violations. In a written reply to lawmakers' questions, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said only 66 percent of Taiwan's motorcycles -- mostly scooters -- went through annual emission tests last year. That means more than 4.7 million motorcycles were not inspected. Owners who fail to get their machines inspected are subject to a fine of NT$2,000 (US$64), while if motorcycles are stopped and fail a random roadside test, their owners face a fine of NT$1,500 to NT$6,000. The problem is that some local governments find the fines "too high to impose," according to the EPA. Some cities and counties want the fine lowered to NT$500, said Chen Hsien-heng, an EPA official responsible for air quality. He did not name the local authorities in question. The EPA said it will consult within the next month with the local authorities and other government agencies on a proposal to encourage local governments to issue more fines by lowering the penalties. The issue of air quality has become a hot topic since "Under the Dome," a Chinese documentary on that country's serious air pollution, stirred up debate not only in China but also in Taiwan and beyond. According to the EPA, vehicles account for 36 percent of the haze that periodically affects Taiwan, with air pollutants from China and local industrial emissions accounting for around 25 percent each. The EPA report also said that while motorcycle engines have much smaller displacements than cars, they produce far greater amounts of carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons. Experts attribute that to the generally older technology used in motocycle engines. A new motorcycle costs upwards of NT$50,000 in Taiwan. (By Zoe Wei and Jay Chen)


Updated : 2021-09-28 00:12 GMT+08:00