Sun, Apr 20, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Environmental leader rues KMT absence from forum

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

The annual National Environmental Non-governmental Organizations (NGO) Forum began in Greater Taichung yesterday, with the theme of making “environmental rights” a part of the Constitution, but while major political parties are participating in the forum, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) refused to attend.

During the opening ceremony yesterday, Taiwan Academy of Ecology secretary-general Tsai Chih-hai (蔡智豪) said recent issues, such as whether the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in Gongliao District (貢寮), New Taipei City, should go into operation or how to protect endangered leopard cats, are critical and cannot wait to be solved so it is important to protect the “environmental right” through the Constitution.

He said participants this year included representatives from 50 NGOs, 28 universities, 11 businesses, six political parties and five government agencies.

With the seven-in-one elections later this year, a special session is planned for political parties to share their environmental views, which will be an opportunity to communicate with voters who care about the environment.

However, while the five main political parties agreed to send representatives to the forum, Tsai said yesterday that the KMT said it “will not attend the campaign promise presentation” session of the forum.

A letter to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) inviting him to attend the forum received a greeting letter in reply, wishing the forum success.

“The ruling party should be responsible for telling the people its views and promises for the environment and we feel sorry that it is unwilling to do so,” Tsai said. “Is it because it does not have any campaign promises on a sustainable environment?”

Other political parties — the Democratic Progressive Party, the Taiwan Solidarity Union, the People First Party and the Green Party sent representatives to attend the forum, he said.

Organized by the Taiwan Academy of Ecology, the forum is being held at Tunghai University with the participation of more than 20 environmental NGOs.

The first day of the forum discussed limiting air pollution, toxic waste treatment and radiation monitoring, as well as recent issues, including animal environmental rights, the impact of invasive non-native species and the conservation of algae reefs and the leopard cat.

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