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Daliao Township toxic gas result to come out this week: Taiwan EPA head

The file photo shows Environmental Protection Administration Minister Shen Shih-hung (left, first row) and Kaohsiung County Magistrate Yang Chiu-hsing...

The file photo shows Environmental Protection Administration Minister Shen Shih-hung (left, first row) and Kaohsiung County Magistrate Yang Chiu-hsing...

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – On the unknown toxic gas leak in the Taliao Township, Kaohsiung County, Environmental Protection Administration Minister Shen Shih-hung (沈世宏) said Wednesday that the EPA is investigating the source and will assist victims in the negotiation of compensation matters. Shen also promised that the result of the examination will come out in a couple of days to track down the source.

Teachers and pupils in Chao-liao Elementary School and Junior High School have been hospitalized several times for toxic gas leak this month. In the Legislative Health, Environmental and Labor Committee this morning, the ruling party Kuomingtang and the opposition party lawmakers all slammed the EPA for being incompetent, asking the administration to find out the source, speed up the compensation, and prevent future happenings.

Shen defended the Administration, saying that he is empathetic with the locals but the probe should be conducted according to evidence. The air sample was collected Tuesday, and after verification, the result is expected to be released before the end of this week, said Shen.

Inspection should be made to some special plants and it is possible that toxic gas was produced when some plants washed containers of chemicals using toxic detergent, said Shen.

Shen said on Dec. 28 that the EPA supported Kaohsiung County government and the Industrial Bureau to hold a meeting on compensation to victims within ten days. The EPA will make indemnification first and then ask for compensation to the culprit.

Following four hospitalization incidents this month, Department of Education of Kaohsiung County made a decision yesterday to relocate all teachers and pupils in the elementary and junior high schools to other venues beginning Jan. 5, 2009.

The County government will pick up students with shuttle buses and arrange health check-up to see if students’ health is affected.

by Taiwan News, Website Editorial Staff