Wed, May 21, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Greater Kaohsiung residents protest health dangers of South Star project

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Siaogang District residents and environmental activists yesterday attend a public hearing in Greater Kaohsiung on the South Star Plan.

Photo: Fang Chih-hsien, Taipei Times

Dozens of residents from Greater Kaohsiung’s Siaogang District (小港) protested yesterday at a public hearing on the South Star Plan (南星計畫) project, saying that ongoing construction has damaged homes in the area and should be halted.

Project developer Taiwan International Ports hosted the event as part of a government order to incorporate public opinion into the project’s plan before going to a second environmental impact assessment (EIA) evaluation.

Hsu Zai-sheng (許再生), a borough warden, said serious road vibration from heavy-duty vehicles traveling to and from the construction site has caused cracks to appear in more than 80 nearby residential buildings and that local residents are suffering from air and noise pollution created by the project.

Construction should be halted and engineers should check the damage to the buildings to assess liability, Hsu said.

Taiwan Water Conservation Alliance spokesperson Chen Jiau-hua (陳椒華) said that if the second phase of the development project receives EIA approval, a yacht manufacturing park and other projects are planned for the area, which is already plagued by heavy pollution from a power plant, a petrochemical refinery and an incinerator, among others.

Chen said that a thorough investigation into potential health risks should be conducted before further development continues.

Citizens of the Earth, Taiwan deputy secretary-general Wang Min-ling (王敏玲) said the developer’s EIA report showed that the annual average concentration of PM2.5 (fine particle matter smaller than 2.5 micrometers in size) in the area was 47μg/m3 — which surpasses the nation’s air quality standard of 15μg/m3.

The developer has a duty to be honest about any potential health risks, Wang said.

With three elementary schools — holding a combined number of 930 students — close by, the government should not allow developments that may harm the children, Wang added.

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