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Environmental protection

i Air quality

The Environmental Law sets out the framework principles for the preservation of air quality. Specifics thereof are governed by various regulations enacted based on the Environmental Law.

The Regulation on the Assessment and Management of Air Quality is based on EU Directives 96/62/EC, 99/30/EC, 2000/69/EC, 2002/3/EC and 2004/107/EC, establishing the main principles and procedures for the preservation of air quality.

The Regulation on the Control of Air Pollution from Heating Sources and the Regulation on the Control of Industrial Air Pollution are sector-specific regulations governing air pollution with a focus on the activity it originates from.

The Regulation on the Control of Industrial Air Pollution sets forth the principles for the control of soot, smoke, dust, gas, steam and aerosol emissions as a result of industrial and energy production. Environmental permits are mandatory for the establishment and operation of enterprises with air emissions and are issued subject to the Permit and Licence Regulation.

The Regulation on the Control of Air Pollution from Heating Sources specifies the substances that can be used for heating purposes and prohibits the use of certain scrap materials, including petroleum coke, mineral oil, plastic car parts, rubber, sawdust, solid waste, scrap textile, cables, wet wood, painted wood, plastic, household goods, food waste, medical waste, asphalt and asphalt products, paint and paint products, or fuel-oil containers to minimise air pollution.

See Section II for details on the environmental permits and licences required under the Permit and Licence Regulation.

As explained in detail under Section IV, a fine may also be imposed on the operator of a facility if a facility that is subject to permits under the air pollution legislation fails to comply with the terms of the permits or regulations or if the facility generates emissions in excess of the applicable emissions standards and limitations set out in the relevant regulations.

ii Water quality

The Regulation on the Water Pollution Control sets forth the main principles for preserving water quality and preventing water pollution. In this regard, all kinds of pollutants are required to take permits for water pollution control.

It is forbidden to dispose wastewater in the receiving medium without any purification treatment and without ensuring that the quality standards determined for the environment in which the treated wastewater will be discharged in are not adversely affected.

Facilities that discharge waste into sewage systems should also obtain a wastewater connection permit. See Section II for details on the environment permits and licences required as per the Permit and Licence Regulation.

Further, if a facility has dangerous substances in its waste water, it must obtain a dangerous waste storage permit from the Ministry in accordance with the Regulation on the General Principles of Waste Management and the Regulation on the Control of Pollution Caused by Dangerous Substances in Aquatic Environments. Such waste must be collected from the permitted facility every six months by a licensed storage entity.

iii Chemicals

Aside from the Environmental Law, the Regulation on the Classification, Labelling, and Packaging of Materials and Mixtures (the CLP Regulation) and the Regulation on the Recording, Evaluating, Permission and Limitation of Chemicals (the Permission Regulation) set up the legal framework governing the environmental implications of chemicals.

The Permission Regulation promotes alternative methods for the assessment of hazardous substances while enhancing competitiveness and innovation to protect human health and the environment. Accordingly, all manufacturers, importers and downstream users are responsible for ensuring that the production, market placement and use of the chemical substance does not cause any negative effect on human health or the environment. It obliges the manufacturers and importers handling substances in quantities of one ton or more per year to submit a registration to the Ministry by using the online Chemical Registration System. Within three weeks of submitting their registration, applicants may start or continue manufacturing or importing the relevant substance unless otherwise indicated by the Ministry.

The Permission Regulation further requires that a substance listed under the annexes of the regulation not be manufactured, placed on the market or used unless it complies with the conditions of the restriction.

As per the CLP Regulation, a material or a mixture cannot be introduced to the market unless it is classified, labelled and packaged in accordance with the potential physical damage or harm threat it poses to human health and the environment. Manufacturers, importers, downstream users and product manufacturers are liable with respect to the classification of materials or mixtures. The label of a material or mixture that is classified as hazardous should contain certain information such as the suppliers' details, and satisfy certain form requirements (e.g., legible, non-erasable).

Where the hazard class of the material or mixture changes, leading to more significant threats requiring additional information to be placed on the label, the supplier should update the label without delay. Except for such changes that require immediate amendment to the labels, suppliers should update the labels within 18 months in case of a change.

The CLP Regulation further stipulates that suppliers should collect all of the information they use during classification and labelling and keep this information for 10 years starting from the last day of supply. Upon request, the supplier will be under the obligation to provide such information to the Ministry.

The Regulation on Persistent Organic Pollutants recently entered into force. This new regulation aims to prohibit production, market placement and use of certain persistent organic pollutants, and covers the provisions in order to minimise and manage waste containing or contaminated by any of these substances.

As per the Environmental Law, all parties involved in the handling of hazardous chemicals (i.e., manufacturing, sale, storage, use and transportation) are jointly liable in connection with any damage inflicted by the release of such chemicals. Further, each of these parties should obtain liability insurance for any possible harm to be caused to third parties during their professional activities.

Pursuant to Article 20 of the Environmental Law, a fine is applicable to the processing, importing, exporting, transporting, storing, packaging, labelling and sale of dangerous chemicals and substances containing hazardous chemicals in breach of the principles and procedures set forth under the relevant regulations. The amount of the fine is tripled for individuals.

iv Solid and hazardous waste

The Regulation on Waste Management (the Waste Management Regulation) is the centrepiece of secondary legislation outlining principles related to the management of waste from the production stage to disposal without harming the environment or human health in order to improve the overall use of natural resources by way of re-use, recycle and recovery.

As per the Waste Management Regulation, facilities that produce more than 1,000 kilograms of hazardous waste per month are required to obtain a temporary storage permit. If the production of hazardous waste is less than 1,000 kilograms per month, these facilities should still apply to the Ministry to obtain an exemption. In terms of timing limitations, hazardous waste may only be stored for up to six months, whereas this limit is one year for non-hazardous waste.

Facilities that engage in the collection, transportation, storage, recycling and temporary storage of hazardous waste, regardless of the amount of the hazardous waste processed, are obliged to purchase a liability insurance policy to provide coverage for damages that may be inflicted on third parties during these activities.

The Regulation does not address particular types of waste. Different types of waste are governed under specific secondary legislation, such as those pertaining to the disposal of medical, packaging and mining waste.

v Contaminated land

The Law on Soil Preservation and Land Utilisation No. 5403 (the Land Utilisation Law) has the purpose of determining soil and land classification, land utilisation, and land and soil preservation. The Land Utilisation Law prohibits the use of agricultural lands for other purposes and introduces measures to ensure the protection and sustainable use of soil. Soil preservation boards are established in each province to oversee that land use is in compliance with the Land Utilisation Law.

The Regulation on the Control of Soil Pollution and Sites Contaminated by Point Source Pollution (the Soil Pollution Regulation) is the main secondary legislation regarding the prevention of soil pollution. Pursuant to the Soil Pollution Regulation, facilities that use, store or produce hazardous waste should take the necessary measures to prevent soil pollution and should notify the authorities prior to commencement of such activities. In principle, the priority is to prevent soil pollution at the source. Direct or indirect storage and discharge of hazardous material and waste to soil is prohibited, and contaminated soil should not be mixed with clean soil.

In the case of failure to comply with these provisions addressing soil pollution, the prevention, remedy and compensation regime under the Environmental Law will apply (see Section IV).