What Can Taiwan Do With All That Waste?

Taiwan's lax disposal is creating a furor--at home and abroad

No town in Taiwan wanted it. So in late November, Formosa Plastics Corp. shipped some of its mercury-laden waste to Cambodia instead. The company was supposed to mix the poisonous stuff with concrete and form it into solid blocks, ready for safe storage. Instead, 3,000 tons of crumbly, sludge-filled blocks ended up in an open pit near the port of Sihanoukville, a threat to the water supply. Local residents rioted when a local worker died after cleaning the tanks of the ship that carried the waste. Formosa Plastics says its waste did not kill the worker. No matter: Four others died in road accidents as thousands fled the area.

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