The high tech electronic industries have played a vital role in driving the world economy. In Taiwan, many high-tech parks have been established by either the government or high-tech manufacturers to promote national economic development. However, the manufacturing of high-tech products release hundreds of chemicals and generate thousands of tons of wastewater per day. As the electronic production process is characterized by its continuous innovations, potential risks of chemical compounds released from the manufacturing firms have been poorly understood. This paper, taking the water pollution disputes of Siaoli River (one of the rare rivers in Taiwan classified as having high water quality and long the source of drinking water for residents of a northern Taiwan village), explains how environmental laws have failed to identify and regulate the pollutants generated from the electronic manufacturing process, and how the defects of the current environmental standards have placed great impacts on the community and environmental health. Identifying the major environmental risks/ concerns through the water pollution disputes of Siaoli River, this paper argues that the current environmental standards, which target traditional industrial pollutants, are too outdated to effectively address the high-tech pollution problems. In light of this, we recommend that the policy mechanism should attend to information disclosure rules and precautionary principles to correct the problems, in order to boost innovation and sustainable production goals within the high-tech manufacturing sectors.
the Proceedings of the 2009 International Symposium on Sustainable Systems and Technology (ISSST), 1-6.