2The perils of development

Taiwan’s environmental problems and their causes1

Taiwan has made enormous economic and material progress since the 1950s, not to mention striking social and political gains since the late 1980s, as was noted in Chapter 1. Yet, if one were to poll a random sample of people in Taiwan today, a majority probably would say that Taiwan is ‘badly polluted’, or words to that effect. A survey by the Environmental Quality Protection Foundation in 2006 reported that public frustration with the quality of the environment registered a high of 70 ‘points’, up slightly from the previous year (the index peaked at 79 points in 1995, then decreased before starting to rise again). The survey also noted that 37 per cent of the people felt ...

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