Taipei endures most public nuisance disputes in 2012

By Joy Lee ,The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taipei topped the 2012 list of cities with the most public nuisance disputes, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) announced yesterday.

Cases involving noise pollution accounted for the biggest number of public nuisance cases last year, followed by odor pollution and environmental sanitation.

Daan District in Taipei topped all three categories with the most disputes among all cities and townships in Taiwan. Taipei’s Zhongshan District and New Taipei’s Banqiao District ranked second and third in number of cases. “The urban lifestyle and the mixture of residential and business districts are both reasons why Daan District tops the ranking,” said the deputy inspector general of the EPA’s Bureau of Environmental Inspection (BEI), Su-er Yang (楊素娥). “It does not necessarily mean that cities or towns with a smaller number of reported cases have a better living environment,” Yang said. “Public nuisance disputes are actually a subjective issue concerning the feeling of an individual toward the environment “The cooking fumes, noise and construction work in business districts might lead to people reporting cases in urban areas, and the high density in residential districts also causes many environmental sanitation disputes.”

Yang also pointed out that the EPA has no direct authority in many cases involving noise pollution, such as barking dogs or loud neighbors. “Noises made by people and pets are not regulated by the Noise Control Act (噪音管制法). People should call the police instead of the EPA when being bothered by those noises. The police can solve the dispute according to the Social Order Maintenance Act (社會秩序維護法).” According to EPA statistics, the number of reported disputes has increased from 85,768 in 1998 to 227,931 in 2012.

Yang also said that according to a survey conducted on the 37,975 cases that were labeled by the agency as resolved, 89.2 percent of people said they were satisfied with how the disputes were processed.

Meanwhile, the EPA announced the official launch of a public nuisance dispute app for smartphones owners, giving users a faster way to report cases. Yang said that about 80 percent of people still report public nuisance disputes over the phone. The EPA developed the app so people can have a faster and more convenient channel to voice their complaints.