Environmental groups are to rally against air pollution on Dec. 17 to demand that the central government better address the health hazard.
An environmental protection alliance, including the Pingtung County Environmental Protection Alliance and the Kaohsiung branch of Air Clean Taiwan, on Tuesday listed four demands in regard to air pollution.
They demanded that penalties for air pollution be raised and that the cap on state-run companies’ emissions be reduced by half.
They also voiced their opposition to the burning of coal and amendments that have been made to laws regulating air pollution and environmental assessments.
The rallies are to take place nationwide, including in Taipei, Taichung and Kaohsiung, with many politicians backing them.
Taichung Mayor Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) on Monday said that he supports the rally and hopes that it is successful.
Many of the organizers also participate in Taichung’s air pollution prevention task force, Lin said, adding that he hopes to hear from them how the city can continue to adopt more eco-friendly policies.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) on Wednesday also called on people to join the rallies.
Improving air conditions should be the government’s No. 1 priority, especially since PM2.5 — airborne particulate matter measuring 2.5 micrometers or less — have become a top carcinogen, Wu said, citing WHO data.
The Kaohsiung Environmental Protection Bureau said that the city has set some of the strictest air quality standards in the nation and that it has started to combat 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 winter by encouraging people to drive less.
The Kaohsiung City Council yesterday passed a regulation saying schools are banned from hosting sporting events when air pollution is severe.