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Protesters call for government efforts against air pollution

2015/12/26 21:21:36

In front of the Presidential Office.

Taipei, Dec. 26 (CNA) Several groups held a demonstration in Taipei Saturday, calling for government efforts to reduce carbon emissions and move away from fossil fuels, given the deteriorating air quality experienced recently.

Protesters gathered in front of the Environmental Protection Administration headquarters to take part in the demonstration calling for efforts to tackle air pollution and fight global warming for the sake of the people's health.

[In front of the Environmental Protection Administration headquarters]

The average annual carbon dioxide emissions of Taiwanese is 11 metric tons per person, which is much higher than some other countries, including the United Kingdom, France and Japan, said former Academia Sinica President Lee Yuan-tseh (李遠哲), who took part in the protest.

Lee said efforts to reduce carbon emissions should begin right away, not when the next president takes office.

According to Yeh Guang-peng (葉光芃), a founder of the Taiwan Clean Air Network, one of the groups that organized the demonstration, air pollution and global warming should be a national security issue, and he called for the president to set up a task force to tackle the issue.

The groups also urged the phasing out of coal-burning power plants, the establishment of an air quality monitoring station in each township, taxes on registered sources of pollution, and an energy policy that targets zero growth in demand for electricity.

Yeh said air pollution is an urgent issue, since Taiwan has often seen hazardous levels of PM2.5 -- particulate matter smaller than 2.5 micrometers -- since the beginning of Autumn, which affects people's lives and health.

According to the organizers, over 2,000 people took part in the protest. They marched to the Presidential Office, where they were joined by the three vice presidential candidates campaigning for the Jan. 16 elections.

(By Lung Pei-ning and Kay Liu)

[Words on the mask: "I want to stay alive"]

[A lung-shaped ballon]