The “2021 International Exchange of Technical Experiences on Remediation for Soil and Groundwater Pollution” project has been carried out to fulfill the concept of the original idea for the international exchange on the issue of soil and groundwater by executing the plans in detail. Although the related events have been influenced by the pandemic of COVID-19, the project team has accomplished the project missions through diverse conferencing tools, including on-line meeting, videoconferencing, and physical meeting. The major outcomes of this project are briefly summarized as below:
1.The Taiwan-US Bilateral Technical Workshop on the topic of “International Workshop on Developments in Contaminated Site Characterization and Remediation” was held in Tainan on December 15 and 16, 2021. The two-day workshop was conducted by combining virtual and physical meetings with 20 lecturers and 8 moderators, and with 181 participants on-site and 23 participants online. The program consists of 18 topics, including technologies of enhancing biodegradable remediation and site investigation. Most of the participants were highly satisfied with the topics selected, but also suggested adding more courses related to Green and Sustainable Remediation (GSR). The main idea is to adopt technologies or management methods that take environmental, social, and economic benefits into account and reduce environmental impacts and environmental footprints. In the future, the project team will continue to cooperate with USEPA to exchange and share the GSR technology trends and implementation results. This will help Taiwan to reach its goal of improving environmental quality and the ability to remediate contaminated sites.
2.The 10th Steering Committee Meeting of Working Group on Remediation for Soil and Groundwater Pollution of Asian and Pacific Region (ReSAG) was held via video conferencing on December 17, 2021. There were representatives from 10 out of 12 member countries attending the meeting, including Australia, Indonesia, India, Korea, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Thailand, Vietnam, and Taiwan. It was the highest attendance over the years. The main topics discussed were events on World Soil Day and protections for soil and groundwater in committee members’ countries. Besides, the Taiwanese and Japanese teams delivered presentations of their own countries as the country report. At the end of the meeting, Mr. Bruce Croucher from New Zealand was elected as the chairperson for the next video conferencing, and Thailand will give a presentation as the country report in the next meeting. Besides the Steering Committee Meeting, two ReSAG working meetings were also held on-line in 2021.
3.Because of the influence by the pandemic of COVID-19, Taiwan and South Korea have agreed to extend the existing MOU until the end of 2022, and have notified the Ministry of Foreign Affairs respectively and completed the exchanging procedures for the extension of the MOU. The 11th steering committee meeting, which was supposed to be hosted by the Korean side, was postponed to August 2022. The joint research project is set as "Development of Joint Research Project Working Roadmap for 2023 to 2026". Both parties have planned the draft cooperation roadmap and agreed to provide the details of working scope on the steering committee meeting in August 2022.
4.As the Industry-Academia Tech Exchange Forum on ‘Taiwan-Vietnam Soil and Groundwater Protection Technology Cooperation Agreement’ was affected by COVID-19 epidemic, after the change of contract, it was held on Nov. 2nd, 2021 through the form of video conference. A total of 18 participants from the industry field, the government and the academia took part in the event. The team has conducted and finished collecting, summarizing and analyzing data. Suggestions were proposed based on the results.
5.The 4th Steering Committee Meeting of Agreement between Taiwan EPA and Vietnam MONRE was held by Vietnam this year. Due to the impact of COVID-19 epidemic, after the change of contract, the event was held on Dec. 1st, 2021 through the form of video conference. The results are as follow:
(1)Both sides understand and agree the research cooperation plan will continue to 2025 and the topic of cooperation includes ‘investigation and evaluation of the heavy metal contamination in soil and groundwater in craft villages in Mẫn Xá,’ ‘investigation and evaluation of agricultural soil contamination,’ ‘environmental technology verification (ETV)’ and ‘environmental insurance’. Cooperation plan is expected to be drafted and proposed to VECO and TECO in advance.
(2)Both sides agree the 5th steering committee meeting will be held by the Taiwanese side on September of 2022, and both sides will assign 6 steering committee members (including government, academia and industry representatives) respectively.
6. ‘2021 Taiwan-Thailand Soila and Groundwater Protection Technology Cooperation’ Forum was held on Dec. 24th, 2021 through the form of video conference. A total of 24 participants from the industry, the government and the academia on the Taiwanese side took part in the event. The both sides have reached the consensus that annual meeting can be held in the name of ReSAG by Taiwan side or Thailand side, taking turns holding the forum. The participants will include government, academia and industry representatives.