Fri, Jun 04, 2004 - Page 4 News List

Activists slam DPP for `lack of spirit'

DOUBLE JEOPARDY Environmentalists said yesterday the DPP lacks the will to ensure the nation's sustainability, thereby wasting money and damaging the environment

By Chiu Yu-Tzu  /  STAFF REPORTER

A person in a black hood yesterday points out ten major environmental problems Taiwan faces on a poster during a press conferences in Taipei. The group of environmentalists criticized the new government for failing to properly assess the 10 Major Infrastructure Projects' impact on the environment and outlined the possible irreversible ecological disasters they could cause.

PHOTO: SEAN CHAO, TAIPEI TIMES

Environmentalists from more than 30 rights groups yesterday criticized the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) for lacking the spirit to ensure the nation's sustainability, saying certain national development projects or drafts would not only waste taxpayers' money but also jeopardize the environment.

As tomorrow marks World Environment Day, environmentalists held a press conference at the Legislative Yuan yesterday to accuse the government of creating "10 nightmares" for the people of Taiwan.

The 10 nightmares include the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, the Suao-Hualien Freeway, large artificial lakes, large household incinerators, Hushan Reservoir, cable-car projects in high mountains, inappropriate reconstruction around the Central Cross-island Highway, reforestation projects, and hydraulic development projects in Hualien and Tainan counties.

Activists said that the DPP engaged in environmental protection before and after the party was established in 1986. However, environmentalists have been disappointed with policies presented by the party since it took power in 2000.

According to Sam Lin (林聖崇), head of the Ecology Conservation Alliance, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) in 2001 expressed his willingness to go on his knees to propose the passage of official environmental impact assessment (EIA) procedures for certain high-tech firms. He said that environmentalists had been watching the government's attitude toward these assessments since then.

"Unfortunately, in the last four years, we saw EIAs for many inappropriate development projects approved by the government," Lin said.

Although the DPP government offered the public more opportunities to participate in designing policies over the last four years, the effectiveness of dialogue has to improve. he said.

Taiwan's '10 nightmares'

* Fourth Nuclear Power Plant

* Suao-Hualien Freeway

* Large artificial lakes

* Large household incinerators

* Hushan Reservoir

* Cable-car projects in high mountains

* Reforestation projects

* Inappropriate reconstruction around the Central Cross-island Highway

* Hydraulic development projects in Hualien County

* Hydraulic projects in Tainan County

Source: environmental agencies


Lai Wei-chieh (賴偉傑), secretary-general of the Green Citizens' Action Alliance, said the government's promotion of economic development leaves little space for diversified thinking in society.

"Economic development, environmental protection, social welfare, ecological preservation and other concerns don't really conflict," Lai said.

Lai said environmental groups would cooperate with other groups engaging in other causes, such as human rights and aboriginal welfare, to resist construction of the "10 nightmares."

Activists urged the government to listen to the public's warning that irreversible environmental damage would be caused by inappropriate policies.

In addition to the "nightmares," activists also listed other unsolved environmental problems, including illegal waste dumping, unregulated dioxin levels in food, the lack of policy for treating radioactive waste, invasive tourism activities in ecologically sensitive areas and over-fishing.

World Environment Day, commemorated each year on June 5, is one of the principal vehicles through which the UN stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and enhances political attention and action.

The World Environment Day theme selected for 2004 is "Wanted! Seas and Oceans -- Dead or Alive?"

The Executive Yuan's National Council for Sustainable Development yesterday held a forum on sustainable development of coastal areas and oceans.

Officials said that sustainable development has to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

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