Ahead of Earth Day, Luis Ko offers suggestions to save Taiwan’s environment

Taiwan needs to act now to save its environment: I-Mei CEO

I-Mei Foods CEO Luis Ko.

I-Mei Foods CEO Luis Ko. (By Taiwan News)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – On the eve of Earth Day, I-Mei Foods Co. (義美食品公司) CEO Luis Ko (高志明) presented proposals to President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to take immediate action to save Taiwan’s environment.

As the first of eight concrete suggestions he first made at the recent 14th “National NGO Environmental Meeting,” Ko invited businesses and corporations to participate in a movement to “protect a good Taiwan.” For many years, environmental groups have made every effort, but each year they only conduct a dialogue with government departments and with legislative bodies, which is not enough, Ko said.

There is a need to put measures into force on a regional basis and to establish the triple concept of “environmental safety, agricultural safety, food safety.”

What also needs to be done, is to build a sufficient number of centers for the final treatment of waste from businesses. No business manager wants to dump waste just anywhere he can and harm the environment to be looked at like a thief. Many government departments understand the problems of business, but because the issue belongs to the jurisdictions of several governments and departments on the national and local levels, no solution is forthcoming. Everyone is waiting for the president and the premier to voice their opinion.

The problem of illegal or unregistered factories also needed to be solved, Ko said. Because of an insufficient number of industrial zones, it has become difficult to develop the economy by creating new businesses and plants, forcing tens of thousands into a helpless situation. No business manager hoped to break the rules, Ko said.

Taiwan also needed a reorganization of its local governments in order to increase efficiency, according to the I-Mei CEO. He suggested that in the period from 2019 to 2022 Hsinchu City and Hsinchu County on the one hand and Chiayi City and Chiayi County on the other hand should take the first steps toward merger, with those mergers to be put into practice in the period from 2023 to 2026. The cities and counties on their own were too small to implement the “environmental safety, agricultural safety, food safety” program.

Since water will be Taiwan’s most valuable resource, the government should announce the rates for water for the coming 50 years, with the price remaining stable for private citizens at NT$10 per ton with each person receiving 10 tons per month. However, for businesses, the rate should gradually rise to NT$120 per ton after 50 years, but as the rates would be announced in advance, businesses would be able to estimate the costs, Ko said.

His final proposal was to protect the nation’s mountains and forests and to put an end to illegal exploitation. The people who understood the forests and the mountains the best, were the indigenous populations of those areas, Ko said. He called on them to protect the lands and the water, and not to let themselves be lured by others to become involved in illegal deforestation.