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Water Pollution in Taiwan

By Angus Liu

Water pollution is an intractable environmental issue affecting Taiwan, a country known for its expeditious industrialization and urbanization. The combination of industrial activities, agricultural practices, and inadequate wastewater management has resulted in significant contamination of Taiwan’s water bodies. According to the data from the Environmental Protection Administration, more than 50% of the rivers in Taiwan are polluted by inappropriate development in the upstream region, for example, the establishment of orchards or tea farms and other non-point source pollution. In addition, the water quality becomes worse and worse in a few decades. This article aims to explore the sources, impacts, and efforts to resolve water pollution in Taiwan.


    The industry and agriculture in Taiwan play an essential role in the economy but also contribute to water pollution. The industrial sector, including manufacturing, electronics, plastics, and petrochemical industries is the primary cause of water pollution in Taiwan. The discharge of untreated industrial wastewater containing chemicals and heavy metals can severely damage the whole water system. Agricultural activities are another significant source of water pollution in Taiwan. Through agricultural activities, the use of fertilizers, insecticides, and herbicides can lead to runoff that introduces these chemicals into water bodies and contaminates them. Additionally, nutrient overload and the inappropriate management of waste in agricultural areas and livestock farms can cause animal feces to enter waterways. If wastewater treatment facilities are insufficient or not well-developed, those pollutants can impact the water quality and furthermore have countless effects.


   Water pollution has various outcomes which influence both the environment and human health. One of the most significant outcomes is the contamination of drinking water sources, which can result in waterborne diseases and pose risks to human health. Aquatic ecosystems, such as rivers, lakes, and oceans, suffer severely from water pollution as well. The presence of pollutants leads to harm to aquatic organisms. Detrimental substances can impair the health and reproductive capabilities of fish, amphibians, and invertebrates.


     Taiwan has put in place a number of measures to stop water pollution. The government has passed stringent environmental protection laws and regulations, including requirements for industrial operations, agricultural practices, and wastewater disposal. Priority has been given to upgrading and expanding wastewater treatment facilities so that contaminants are eliminated from home and industrial wastewater before release. Industrial activities are subject to stricter regulation, including the installation of pollution prevention equipment, enforceable pollution control measures, and ongoing monitoring. The prevention of agricultural pollution involves encouraging farmers to utilize optimal management practices, such as sensible pesticide and fertilizer application, soil conservation methods, and the establishment of buffer zones. To inform the public and promote responsible conduct, initiatives have been launched to educate the public about water conservation and the prevention of pollution. In order to protect fragile ecosystems and marine biodiversity, Taiwan has also declared marine protected zones. Additionally, the nation actively engages in international partnerships with other countries, exchanging information and expertise. These coordinated efforts are aimed at maintaining clean and healthy water supplies, but long-term success depends on continual efforts and regular monitoring.

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