Tue, Nov 10, 2015 - Page 4 News List

Environmental groups call for action on air pollutants

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter

A coalition of environmental groups on Sunday called for the termination of an expansion project of the Central Taiwan Science Park in Taichung, a gradual prohibition of petroleum coke and coal, and decreased output of coal-fired power plants, as the density of fine particulate matter under 25 micrometers in diameter (PM2.5) continues to reach hazardous levels across the nation.

Thirty-two environmental groups held a press conference in Taichung ahead of a parade at the end of this month to protest Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s (TSMC) science park expansion project and emissions from the Taichung Power Plant — the largest coal-fired power plant in the world.

The groups said that the TSMC expansion is predicted to consume 4.8 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, which is equal to 60 percent of the annual electricity used by Taichung residents.

The expansion project would task the power plant to boost its power generation by 11 percent, which would only aggravate local pollution, the groups said.

They demanded the expansion be halted until a health risk assessment has been completed, and that presidential candidates should put forward policies on environmental protection and green development to curb worsening air pollution.

In related news, Green Party-Social Democratic Party Alliance legislative candidate Thomas Chan (詹順貴) yesterday said that the surging PM2.5 levels recently recorded in central and southern Taiwan were a result of a combination of factors.

PM2.5 concentrations have reached purple levels — the most severe level according to the Environmental Protection Administration’s (EPA) four-color categorization — in central and southern areas since Saturday last week.

Chan called on the central government to gradually phase out the burning of petroleum coke and coal to combat air pollution.

The EPA said it is planning to make arrangements with coal-fired power plants nationwide to adjust their power output or schedule an annual overhaul during fall and winter.

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