Kaohsiung authorities pledge firm response to chemical spill

Focus Taiwan
Date: 09/18/2020
By: Hung Hsueh-kang,
Hou Wen-ting and Matthew Mazzetta

Officials in Kaohsiung inspect the spill site. CNA photo Sept. 18, 2020

Kaohsiung, Sept. 18 (CNA) Kaohsiung's Environmental Protection Bureau (EPB) said Friday that it will fine and pursue criminal charges against the renter of an industrial warehouse for allegedly ignoring demands to clean up an ethyl acrylate spill that spread an acrid odor over the city's Niaosong District the previous day.

According to Hsieh Tang-chin (謝唐欽), chief of the district's Niaosong ward, residents of the area awoke Thursday to the sharp, chemical smell, which causes breathing difficulties and a burning sensation in the eyes and throat.

Although the source of the odor was soon found to be coming from a nearby warehouse, Hsieh said the renter, who had previously claimed to be running a solar energy business, had "avoided and ignored" calls to do something about it, forcing environmental authorities to force their way into the property later that day.

The EPB said it responded to reports of the smell early on Thursday and arrived at the site to find piles of chemical mixtures and barrels leaking a pungent, viscous substance that was later determined to be ethyl acrylate, a compound used in paint and textile production.

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