Wed, Jul 20, 2011 - Page 8 News List

[ LETTER ]

‘Idle-free’ is catching on

Two months ago I wrote a letter to this newspaper calling out for people to “support an idle-free Taipei” (Letter, May 17, page 8). I ended the letter with a plea to people out there that not only care, but also are proactive. Fortunately, some people contacted me and helped Idle-Free Taipei grow.

Since May, Idle-Free Taipei has grown from one person to nine contributing members. We have also started a Facebook group that has accumulated more than 700 members.

On July 3, Idle-Free Taipei hosted a “Clean Air Promotion” at the intersection of Keelung and Roosevelt roads. We sang songs about pollution, displayed posters with vital facts about vehicle exhaust and its adverse effects, distributed more than 800 information pamphlets and handed out almost 40 carbon dioxide masks to children and pregnant women.

We got a lot of huge smiles, thumbs ups and even instances where a whole section of waiting scooter operators applauded. The volunteers were also all smiles because they could see the immediate effects from their hard work. During one red light, we noticed an eerie silence, despite seeing a cluster of more than 20 scooters. When the traffic light ticked down to five seconds, all the scooters restarted their engines in unison, prompting us to high-five and hug each other.

After the amazing success of our Clean Air Promotion, the idea behind Idle-Free Taipei was submitted to a carbon-reducing contest hosted by the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Bureau of Energy. We took third place in the contest, which is an incredible honor that includes funding from the ministry.

In light of the success we have had, we are hosting another Clean Air Promotion on Saturday from 11am to 1pm. If you would like to be a part of an incredible event, or witness how a simple action can change the way people think, please join us.

We all deserve to breathe clean air.

JOHN FLECKENSTEIN

Taipei

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