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Cross-Taiwan rallies against air pollution to be held Dec. 17

2017/12/06 21:26:22

Taipei, Dec. 6 (CNA) Environmental groups in Taiwan will rally against air pollution Dec. 17 to demand that the central government better address the health hazard.

An environmental protection alliance, including a southern Taiwan alliance against air pollution, the Pingtung Environmental Protection Alliance, a mother's group for better health, and the Kaohsiung branch of Air Clean Taiwan, held a press conference Tuesday to list their four demands associated with air pollution.

They asked for the fees for air polluters to be raised, for the amount of air pollution state-run companies are allowed to release to be reduced by 50 percent in three years, as well as opposing the burning of coal, and opposing amendments that have been made to the acts regarding air pollution and environmental assessment.

The rallies will take place around Taiwan, including in Taipei, Taichung and Kaohsiung.

Understanding the severity of air pollution, especially during the winter season, many politicians have voiced their support for the rallies.

Taichung Mayor Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said Monday that he supports the rally and hopes that it is successful, while calling on the public to attend.

According to Lin, many of the organizers of the rally also participate in the city's air pollution prevention task force, so he is hoping to hear from these people how Taichung can continue to adopt more eco-friendly policies.

Opposition Kuomintang Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) also asked people to join the rally.

Wu said Wednesday that improving air conditions should be the government's number one priority, especially since PM 2.5 has become a top carcinogen, according to the World Health Organization.

In response, the Kaohsiung Environmental Protection Bureau noted that the city has set some of the strictest air quality standards in the country and that it has started to combat horrible air pollution.

One of these measures is the city's free public transportation program, which is aimed at reducing the amount of carbon dioxide produced during the winter months by encouraging people to drive less.

Earlier Wednesday, the Kaohsiung City Council passed a regulation stipulating that schools are banned from hosting school sports events when air pollution is severe.

(By Wang Shwu-fen, Hao Hsueh-chin, Hsieh Chia-chen and Kuan-lin Liu)