Taiwan Government Under Fire For Spill Response
Wednesday, February 07, 2001
Taiwan's government has come under fire from the largest opposition party for stalling on the clean-up of an oil spill threatening the island's southern coast. A Greek cargo ship, the Amorgos, ran aground near Kenting National Park on Taiwan's southern tip 25 days ago, leaking 1,100 tons of fuel that have since spread across an area of some 24 acres (10 hectares). "We see people dredging buckets of oil while the government pushes responsibility, drags and delays," Central News Agency quoted Nationalist Party chairman Lien Chan as saying. "We are watching the environment dying right beneath our eyes," said Lien, whose party dominates parliament.
Premier Chang Chun-hsiung said on Wednesday the government lacked experience in handling oil spills as a maritime pollution law only went into effect in November. "Marine pollution causes major and lasting destruction to the environment and this event has already seriously affected marine life around Kenting," the news agency quoted Chang as saying. He asked the cabinet's Environmental Protection Administration to examine mistakes made in handling the spill, and issue a public report. - (Reuters)