A controversial proposal to expand the Central Taiwan Science Park in the Dadushan (大肚山) area of Taichung, in what is described as the fifth phase of the park, was approved by the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) yesterday amid concerns over the already grave situation with pollution in central Taiwan.
“It was a decision made too rashly,” environmental groups said after the project was approved by the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) panel.
The groups said that they are planning to bring the park’s management to administrative court aiming to overrule the EPA’s decision.
The proposed development, which would use 53.08 hectares of land originally belonging to the military’s branch munitions depot in Dadushan, is scheduled to be converted into an 18-inch screen production factory for Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co and used by other companies, including Giant Bicycles.
Environmental protection groups have said that the Taichung area is saturated with heavy-industry factories, and called for the EIA panel to move to the second stage.
The difference between the first and second stages of the EIA is that the first stage is a review based on submitted documents, while the second stage requires on-site inspections.
The park’s management office, however, maintained that the risk to health should the expansion be approved did not exceed recommended levels, adding that it would continue to provide whatever documents were needed to help assuage such fears.
According to Taiwan Water Resources Protection Union spokesperson Chen Jiau-hua (陳椒華), the park’s health risk report did not include an assessment of multiple chemical substances, adding that though the park had commissioned the Industrial Technology Research Institute for a gas chromatography-mass spectrometry test, it had avoided using peak values for three out of the 15 gas pipes.
“We suspect that the values of the pipelines not included contained carcinogenic materials,” Chen said.
Changhua County Environmental Protection Union secretary-general Shih Yueh-ying (施月英) said the park should seek to better utilize its vacant spaces before planning the expansion.
The current level of air pollution in the Taichung area is severe and units within the park should seek to ameliorate emissions and meet promised standards, Shih said.
According to the management office, emissions stand at 4.12 tonnes per year, taking up 0.05 percent of total emissions in the nation.
The management office promised that it would seek to lower emissions by 4.917 tonnes per year and to decrease 2.5 micrometer airborne particles in the area.
The EIA panel said that the park’s assessment had adopted “the greatest possible risk denominator” and come up with a figure of less than 1 percent carcinogenic risk, prompting it to pass the review.
Additional reporting by Shih Hsiu-chuan and CNA