Environmentalists yesterday accused the presidential candidates of paying insufficient attention to pollution issues in southern Taiwan, saying that they refused to sign a pledge drafted by environmental groups calling for the termination of energy and pollution-intensive development projects in southern municipalities.
A coalition of environmental groups sent the pledge to the Taipei headquarters of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the People First Party (PFP) earlier this month.
They asked that the parties’ presidential and legislative candidates endorse a combination of proposals, including stopping the expansion of the Southern Taiwan Science Park in Tainan and Kaohsiung, the establishment of an oil refinery area in Kaohsiung and the expansion of China Steel Corp and the state-run oil refiner CPC Corp.
Photo: Taipei Times
Taiwan Water Resources Protection Union spokesperson Chen Jiau-hua (陳椒華) said that none of the presidential candidates signed the pledge, while only the DPP campaign office replied to the coalition’s proposals.
Chen said the response of the major parties was unsatisfactory.
Chen said that the DPP lacked a complete understanding of the environment in southern Taiwan, as the party, in its reply, said that the science park expansion projects would not add to air pollution or cause water shortages.
However, Chen said that the water shortage that farmers in Tainan experienced this year showed that there is no surplus water in the area for the park to utilize.
The DPP said it would strive to strike a balance between residential justice, environmental justice and industry justice when planning the oil refinery zone in Kaohsiung’s Siaogang District (小港), but Chen said that the party has ignored the fact that there is an active fault line in the district.
The city has already been designated as a class-three air quality zone — where the air pollution is most severe according to the Environmental Protection Administration’s three-class category — and has no capacity for oil refining, she said.
“Voters in southern Taiwan should cast their ballots for people willing to sign the pledge, instead of wasting their votes on the DPP or the KMT,” she added.
Tainan City Environmental Protection Alliance director Huang An-tiao (黃安調) was equally critical.
“Most legislative candidates of major parties did not sign the pledge or reply to the coalition’s proposals, or they made a uniform reply drafted by their parties. The cold shoulder response from the major parties shows that most candidates are not willing to take on environmental responsibility,” Huang said, questioning the eligibility of those candidates to represent their constituents.
Candidates of minority parties, such as the Green Party-Social Democratic Party Alliance, New Power Party and Trees Party, were more responsive and willing to sign the pledge, Huang said.
The coalition said it would launch an anti-pollution protest in Tainan on Sunday and called for candidates who have not yet signed the pledge to do so.
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