Environmental groups protest air pollution in Kaohsiung - Focus Taiwan

Environmental groups protest air pollution in Kaohsiung

Environmentalists protest for cleaner air in Kaohsiung.
Environmentalists protest for cleaner air in Kaohsiung.

Kaohsiung, Dec. 15 (CNA) Environmentalists in Taiwan's southern port city of Kaohsiung on Sunday protested for cleaner air in the wake of air pollution caused by coal-fired power generators and factory emissions.

The "Kaohsiung Combating Climate Change and Anti-Air Pollution Rally" was organized by the environmental group South Taiwan Air Clear.

Prior to the rally, the group had laid out five demands, including decommissioning the nearly 40-year-old Taiwan Power Company (Taipower) run Hsinta Power Plant in 2020 and forbidding China Steel from refining petcoke at the company's Kaohsiung plant.

The group is also calling for state-run businesses, such as Taipower, China Steel and the CPC Corporation, Taiwan, to decrease their use of coal by 30 percent, as these businesses generate more than half of the pollution created by stationary sources in Kaohsiung, the group said.

The final two demands are the revocation of a contentious clause on a carbon emission offset system and the installation of a stationary photochemical assessment monitoring station in Linyuan Industrial Park, as the current mobile monitoring stations are inadequate, the group said.

The rally saw protesters gathering in Labor Park early Sunday afternoon, with many environmental groups making speeches detailing the harm of air pollution.

The protesters then headed towards Taipower's Nanpu Power Plant, China Steel headquarters, and the CPC's Kaohsiung office, concluding their rally at Kaohsiung city government.

In response to the demands, Taipower and the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) both released press statements Sunday.

According to Taipower, Hsingta Power Plant's coal-powered generators are expected to emit 85 percent less emissions this year than in 1999.

Two of the plant's four coal-powered generators will also be decommissioned in 2023, with the remaining two phased out in 2025 and 2026, Taipower said.

Currently, two of the four generators are not used during autumn and winter, while the other two have decreased use of coal by 30 percent at that time of year, the company said.

These measures are expected to result in a total decrease of coal use by 60 percent in the autumn and winter months, the company said.

According to the EPA, China Steel will continue to build new facilities that reduce pollutants and emissions, and the new carbon emission offset system has yet to be utilized.

As for the photochemical assessment monitoring stations, the EPA said Linyuan Industrial Park already has the highest density of monitoring stations in the country.

(By Liao Yu-yang, Yang Su-min and Chiang Yi-ching)

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