Fri, Nov 06, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Changhua residents, activists protest science park plan

DESTRUCTION Residents are worried that the park's huge water demand could exacerbate subsidence problems in Erlin, which is sinking by 8.4cm a year

By Shelley Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

A woman is seen at a protest outside the Construction and Planning Agency in Taipei yesterday. Farmers, fishermen and environment activists were protesting against plans to build the Central Taiwan Science Park.

PHOTO: CNA

Dozens of Changhua County residents gathered yesterday at the Construction and Planning Agency (CPA) to protest the government's plan to build a science park in the county's Erlin (二林) Township.

The project to build a Central Taiwan Science Park in Erlin recently passed the fourth phase of environmental inspection by the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) panel.

Once the project completes a final round of assessment at the CPA, construction will start in Erlin, located in central Taiwan between Yunlin County and the Jhuoshuei River (濁水溪), one of the few remaining coastal areas in western Taiwan that have not been affected by industrialization.

The protesters, mostly workers in the fishing and farming industries, shouted that the “government has forgotten the farmers and fishermen.”

One of the protesters, surnamed Lin (林), said the residents felt helpless because they knew the government would not listen to their needs and that construction could begin in two weeks' time.

Over the past few months, the plan to introduce industries like optoelectronics and semiconductors in the park has run into strong opposition from the Yunlin and Changhua county governments, local residents, environmentalists and some EIA panelists.

Opponents say plans to discharge treated wastewater from the park into Jhuoshuei River would contaminate nearby farmland.

They also said the proposal's huge water demands could exacerbate severe subsidence problems in Erlin, which is already sinking by 8.4cm per year, the worst rate of subsidence in the nation.

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