In keeping pace with the world economic situation, after 40 years of continuous hard work, Taiwan is envied for her economic growth and economic prosperity and is known as one of the four Little Dragons in Asia. Net industrial production value increased to 41% in 1984 from 17% in 1952, while agriculture, this percentage dropped from 36% down to 9% during the same period, according to the Information Department of Taiwan in 1985.
The fluctuation of these two indicators best explains the drastic transition in both social and economic structures for Taiwan, showing clearly the speedy transformation of the core of economic development from agriculture to industry. However, due to this island’s high population density, second only to Bangladesh, there is a high density of plant sites, motor vehicles, and livestock populations.
For example, the amount of pig raising in Taiwan is second only to that in the Netherlands. Mass consumption of electricity and gasoline has increased dramatically in recent years. Taiwan has been paying a higher environmental cost for industrialization than many other areas in the world.
There are serious environmental problems, namely, air pollution, contaminated water sources, excessively loud and continuous noise, soil pollution, piling up of wastes, stratum cave-ins, endangering rare plants and animals. Incidents such as the green oysters, waste hardware, cadmium-poisoned rice, and polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) have occurred in Taiwan, and have attracted international attention.
More than a decade ago, issues such as environmental or ecological protection and environmental pollution were topics very new to the general public in Taiwan. But in recent years, demand for better living space has become common concerns recognized by the entire community, and have resulted in antipollution sentiments.
Environmental protection movements suddenly became fashionable. Advanced technology for pollution controls is in high demand. The government has imposed increasingly strict regulations on pollution prevention. The enforcement of the law is stronger than ever. Environmental education and literature on environmental issues are on a national scale.