About 97 hectares of farmland in Taoyuan’s Dayuan District were been labeled unusable last year due to heavy metal contamination from a nearby factory, Apple Daily reported.
A Next Magazine reporter claimed to have found rice growing on three hectares of land within the contaminated area. The Council of Agriculture, however, responded to the report that the section of land was not affected by the pollution.
Locals, however, are concerned about rice in the area entering the market. The Council of Agriculture said that the rice would be labeled a high-risk crop and tested after harvesting to ensure the safety of consumers.
A Liberty Times report estimates that 20 tons of rice planted in the contaminated area may have made its way to market.
In response to the survey of 122 hectares of farmland, Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-Tsan (鄭文燦) said that only 15.95 hectares exceeded the pollution limits and would be off limits to farming, Liberty Times reported. The contaminated area would also be audited to assess whether any portion of the land could be used.
He added that the EPA conducted comprehensive soil testing last year. The entire area should be tested once every two months to ensure accurate records.
Mayor Cheng said, “The detection standard is very high, and the solution should be precise, not turning 100 hectares into wasteland!”
He noted that the city must pay compensation to the farmers and has asked the Council of Agriculture and the EPA to assess the damages to ensure the payout is accurate.