SynopsisThe National Environmental Research Academy is spearheading an initiative to combat illegal dumping of steel slag across Taiwan. This database project aims to trace the origins of steel slag from various companies, offering a powerful tool to authorities to combat unlawful disposal. Expected to be operational by the end of 2024, this database will expedite investigations into environmental violations and prevent the contamination of vital resources like soil and underground water.ArticleIn an endeavor to combat the growing menace of illegal steel slag dumping, the National Environmental Research Academy (NERA) has embarked on a groundbreaking project. This initiative entails the development of a comprehensive database that will meticulously record information about steel slag production by different companies across Taiwan.NERA's Acting Chief, Chang Shuenn-chin, announced at a press conference that this database is slated for completion no later than the end of 2024. Once operational, it will serve as a steel slag footprint databank, empowering investigators to swiftly and efficiently collect crucial evidence.Steel slag, a byproduct of steel-making, is categorized into oxidizing slag and reducing slag, depending on the type of furnace used in the steel production process. Chang elucidated that when illicitly discarded, steel slag poses a substantial threat to the environment. Laden with heavy metals, it has the potential to contaminate soil and underground water sources. The consequences could be dire, especially when dumped near irrigation canals, as the slag might follow the water currents, endangering farmlands and downstream ecosystems, thus posing a significant risk to public health.NERA has made commendable progress in its mission, gathering information about the production processes of over 30 steelmakers nationwide. Analysis of slag waste production from 16 of these companies has also been secured. This database initiative marks a significant step towards curbing environmental malfeasance.Established in August 2023 under the Ministry of the Environment, NERA plays a pivotal role in environmental testing, professional training, education, and certification services, emphasizing its commitment to safeguarding Taiwan's environment and public health.Conclusion NERA's ambitious endeavor to create a comprehensive steel slag database is a commendable step towards addressing the critical issue of illegal dumping. This initiative promises to enhance the efficiency of investigations and deter environmental transgressions. With the potential to protect vital resources and public health, NERA's commitment to environmental stewardship shines as a beacon of hope.