A plant in Changhua is allegedly poisoning the people of Pitou Township. Local residents and students and teachers at Pitou Junior High School have long suffered from dizziness, nausea and burning eyes. Prosecutors found the culprit might be an energy company in the nearby Industrial Park, which illegally emitted dioxin and has been indicted, marking Taiwan's first lawsuit that charges an air polluter with offenses against public safety.
Even with the doors and windows closed and surgical masks on, the teachers and students of Pitou Junior High School in Changhua find the air pollution difficult to bear.
Sometimes it smelt like sour plums. Other times it smelt like toast. It's much more exhausting to teach with surgical masks on. Your voice just doesn't carry.
With the news that a major polluter has been indicted on charges of offenses against public safety, students hope that they will be able to open their classroom windows and have gym class outside again.
==MS. WU Student ==
We get dizzy, and sometimes we get sudden stomach aches. When you're focusing on a math problem and you suddenly smell it, it really distracts you.
==MR. HSIEH Student==
We hope we can get justice
When investigating a case of toxic slag last year, the Changhua District Prosecutors' Office discovered that the High Science Company in the Pitou Industrial Area was producing dioxin emissions 48.4 times higher than legally allowed. The company's representative and boiler operator were indicted on the 10th. This is the first such indictment in Taiwan.
==LIN HAN-CHIANG Dep. Prosecutor, Changhua District Prosecutors' Office==
In the past, it has been difficult to find evidence in air pollution cases. In this case, the prosecutors took samples of soil and plants. Analysis showed that dioxin concentration in these samples was at dangerous levels for human health.
The polluting plant is currently nonoperational. Based on Article 190-1 of the Criminal Code, the company representative could face a sentence of up to seven years, much more than the three-year maximum provided in the Air Pollution Control Act. However, there is more than one polluter in the area. The students hope that one day they can finally breathe clean fresh air.
TRANSLATED BY：JOHN CHEN
黃千容 賴世杰 彰化報導