Taiwan’s New Crisis: Inability of Industrial Waste Management

Category: Best visualization (small and large newsrooms)

Country/area: Taiwan

Organisation: Business Weekly

Organisation size: Big

Publication date: 19/12/2019

Credit: Tien Hsi Ju/Wu Chung Chieh/Ta Jen Lee/Sheila Lee/Ting Ann Lee/Lin Fang Ju/Hou Liang Ju/Hui-Ying Cha/Astrid Chang/Hsu Chun Chieh/Chen Chung-I/Ling-Fen Huang/Yang Yi Chien/Ko Lin/Ta Li Ju/Lai Shih Jen

Project description:

More than 100 Taiwanese companies, which built factories in China for the past 20 years, shifted their production capacity back to Taiwan in 2019 because of the U.S.-China trade war. However, Taiwan’s industrial waste disposal is already problematic ahead of the great shift. This investigative report tracks the past environmental records of these companies and reveals that when the Taiwanese government offers incentives to attract them to reinvest Taiwan, it did not consider measures to deal with their industrial waste, which further weighs on the environment.

Impact reached:

The next day when this project was published, Taiwan’s Environmental Protection Agency announced policies including to inventory the land available for factories that process industrial waste. At the same time, more than 600 online readers and opinion leaders in Taiwan have shared this project through their social network, which help making this website reached 110,578 viewers in ten days. These reactions show that the project have awaked the public to the soaring crisis of industrial waste.

Techniques/technologies used:

We build up this website with HTML, CSS and Native JavaScript. For the motion chart, we use CSS Animation and SVG, with GIF and AE animation.

And we also put aerial video, aerial photo and audio in website to diversify the way of storytelling, make this hard topic reading-friendly.

What was the hardest part of this project?

This project tracked the environmental records of 120 Taiwanese companies who have applied for the government’s “reinvest benefits”. The research includes their subsidiaries in China, which makes a total amount of 600 entities. We compared and crosschecked the databases of environmental protection agencies in both China and Taiwan, and the data collected from non-profit organizations. To examine these data is time-consuming and requires consideration.

The results show 58% of these 120 Taiwanese companies have violated environmental laws in Taiwan or China such as water pollution, air pollution, waste or poison between 2014 and 2019.

We also checked the statistics from the Taiwan government and found that 6.14 million metric tons of industrial waste were hoarded and unprocessed in the past ten years, proving the seriousness of industrial waste problem in this island country.

This investigative project reveals Taiwan’s capacity of processing industrial waste is very insufficient while the government is luring Taiwanese manufacturers to reinvest the island amid trade war. The project suggests that the government should reviews the investment applications carefully, especially those who have poor environmental records in the past.

What can others learn from this project?

  1. Journalist should participate in the making of website in early stage:
    The way of storytelling of digital and printed magazine is totally different. Journalist should participate in the production as early as it can, to make the digital narration more fluently. 
  2. Check list of materials is a must in making digital feature story:
    The amount of photo, soundtrack, video and text of a digital website is at least two times complicated than a printed magazine, especially when you’re not familiar with making a digital feature story. In this way, to name a check list of all the materials you may need in beginning of the production is a must to prevent chaos. 
  3. Digital marketing is an art: 

To marketing your feature story to your fans, but in the mean while not to makes them feel annoying is an art. How to weigh and calculate your post through all social media channels needs a system. 

Project links: