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Environmentalists protest against Danbei expressway project

2011/06/22 21:29:42

Taipei, June 22 (CNA) Environmentalists and residents of Danshui in northern Taiwan gathered in front of the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) Wednesday to protest against the proposed construction of an expressway along the north bank of the Danshui River.

It's better to adopt low-carbon measures than to build expensive roads, the protesters said.

An EPA committee in April conditionally approved the construction of the 4.7 km Danbei (Danshui-Taipei) expressway. At a meeting Wednesday, the committee reaffirmed its decision.

The government has said the expressway would aid the development of Danshui Township, help to improve the flow of traffic and speed up evacuation in the event of a nuclear disaster.

However, environmental groups are opposed to project on grounds that it would destroy the mangrove wetlands along the Danshui River and damage the environment.

One of the protesters, Wang Yu-tsang who lives in Danshui, said he did not agree that the traffic congestion in the area could be solved simply by building such an expressway and he was worried about the adverse impact on the mangrove wetlands.

Moreover, the safety of cyclists will be compromised if the expressway is built, he said.

He suggested that the city government consider ways of improving Danshui's public transportation system. Increasing the number of MRT trains to the city is one way to do so, he said.

Tsui Su-hsin, secretary general of the Green Citizens Action's Alliance, said environmental groups are very disappointed at the EPA committee's decision and will continue to oppose the project. They will petition New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu to stop the project and will stage more protests in September, she said.

The EPA said in a news release Wednesday that the developers should consult with New Taipei City officials and the Council of Agriculture to confirm the boundaries between the construction site and the mangrove wetlands before the project begins. The developers should also conduct environmental impact studies for at least six years, the EPA said.

(By Hermia Lin)
ENDITEM/pc