In dealing with the hazardous industrial waste in illegal dumping sites in Taiwan, such as Hsien-Yu Stone Industry at Taichung and Red Mountain Rock at Pingtung, the choice-of-law issue concerning the application of Waste Disposal Act and the Soil and Groundwater Pollution Remediation Act has frequently arisen.
Since illegal dumping sites are generally caused by the violation against Waste Disposal Act, it is reasonable, logically and theoretically, that this Act shall take the priority to step in and assume the liability to deal with the problems caused.
Under Japanese law, the pertinent authorities, in dealing with illegal dumping sites, generally apply the Act relating to the disposal and Cleaning of Waste to take emergency responses, such as the issuing of improvement/amelioration order or response order, including the performance of verification plan etc. After the waste being disposed of, the Soil Contamination Response Act or the Water contamination Prevention Act shall step in to remediate the soil or water contamination respectively. Therefore, in Japan, concerning the illegal dumping site, there is no such issue as the overlapping controls or division of authority between two pertinent authorities.
The English law has a quite different legal system from that of Taiwan law or Japanese law. It makes division between the current and the historic contamination of land, and the IPPC regulations and the PART IIA of Environmental Protection Act shall apply respectively. Therefore, the key points in English law are to distinguish between the current and the historic contamination and to divide the waste categories, quite different from the issues under Taiwan law.
Since our legal system is similar to that of Japan, theoretically we shall apply in priority the Waste Disposal Act. However, in applying the said Act, we might feel that the legal or financial sources are not enough to deal with illegal dumping site problems. To resolve such problems, we may revise the Waste Disposal Act and add some provisions concerning the necessary response actions and the set-up of fund for industrial waste disposal, so as to provide the competent authorities with necessary weapons for efficient clean-up or disposal of wastes, improve the environment hygiene and protect public health, as per the legislative purposes announced by the Waste Disposal Act. In this respect, we may pay more attention to the legislative development of the Draft Recycling Use of Resources Act.