Thousands Show Up for Air Pollution Protest in Taiwan

Thousands Show Up for Air Pollution Protest in Taiwan
Photo Credit: 作者名稱 @ Flickr CC By SA 2.0
What you need to know

In 2015, more than 6,000 people in Taiwan died from diseases directly related to poor air quality, making up 19 percent of the death toll that year.

Listen
powered by Cyberon

Thousands of protesters on Feb. 19 took to the streets of Taichung City and Kaohsiung City to protest against air pollution and climate change in Taiwan. The march was organized by Taiwan Healthy Air Action Alliance (台灣健康空氣行動聯盟) and joined by lawmakers, local politicians and former Academia Sinica President Lee Yuan-tseh (李遠哲), reports Taipei Times.

According to United Daily News, the three primary demands listed by the organizers include: a central government action committee focused on air quality control and climate change; concrete plans to improve air quality in central and southern Taiwan; and, amendments to the Air Pollution Control Act to increase the number of chemical particles listed as pollutants, greater civil and criminal liability, and heavier fines for polluters.

In response, Thomas Chan (詹順貴), deputy director of the Environmental Protection Administration, said on Feb. 20 that new air quality control strategies are being developed and plans will be announced within three months. Director-general of the Air Quality Protection Department, Tsai Hung-te (蔡鴻德), said that the Ministry of Transportation and Communication are already working on lessening the use of boilers and enforcing stricter car pollution controls.

According to the current Air Pollution Control Act, a maximum of NT$1 million (US$3,000) can be fined for air pollution, which is low compared to maximum fines of NT$20 million dollars for waste- and water-related pollution.

Health issues caused by air pollution have been a primary concern for protesters, and more comprehensive government action to reduce air pollution in industrial zones has been called for. According to a 2016 report published by the National Taiwan University’s College of Public Health, children living within 10 kilometers from the Sixth Naphtha Cracker (六輕) of Formosa Plastics Corp (FPC), in Yunlin County, are up to three times more likely to suffer from allergic rhinitis, bronchitis and asthma.

In 2015, more than 6,000 people in Taiwan died from diseases directly related to poor air quality, making up 19 percent of the death toll that year. The number one cause was ischemic heart disease, followed by stroke, pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Cities and counties with the highest death rates are in southwest Taiwan, where heavy industries are most concentrated.

Editor: Olivia Yang

Looking for More?
More『News』Articles More『Environment』Articles More『Rosemary Chen』Articles
Loader