Protesters yesterday staged a demonstration at the Central Taiwan Science Park in Taichung, demanding the immediate suspension of an expansion project for the park, which they said would aggravate air pollution and pose greater health risks.
Protesters and 41 environmental groups called for the suspension of the project and an overhaul of national development policies, saying that more than 20 percent of the nation’s science parks and industrial zones are underutilized, with the government not making good use of idle plots while rezoning a forest for the Taichung science park expansion.
The expansion was mainly based on a Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) project to build an 18-inch wafer plant on Dadu Mountain in Situn (西屯) and Daya (大雅) districts, with the plan passing an environmental impact assessment in February.
Photo: Tsai Shu-yuan, Taipei Times
Taichung-based environmentalist Tsai Chih-hao (蔡智豪) said the TSMC plan did not assess health risks in association with many carcinogenic pollutants, calling for an end to construction until proper assessments are completed.
Tsai demanded an apology from Taichung Mayor Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) for Lin’s part in soliciting TSMC investment, which Tsai said put city residents at risk of pollution-related illness, adding that the number of adenocarcinomas of the lung — a major type of lung cancer — in the area has risen to become the highest rate in the nation due to the city’s deteriorating air quality.
Impersonating the mayor, Taiwan Healthy Air Action Alliance founder Yeh Guang-peng (葉光芃) delivered a mock apology, saying that Lin in 2012 pledged to remove highly polluting and energy-intensive industries from the city to reduce air pollution and bring back blue skies.
Instead of blue sky, PM2.5 — airborne pollutants measuring 25 micrometers or less in diameter — is Lin’s legacy, Yeh said.
Taichung Veterans General Hospital respiratory physician Hsu Cheng-yuan (許正園) said each 10 microgram per cubic meter rise in PM2.5 is associated with an 8 percent increased risk of lung cancer morbidity, which, in terms of the population of Taichung, could lead to 220,000 residents being affected by the disease.
In a letter to TSMC chairman Morris Chang (張忠謀), who on Thursday said that power shortages and protests from environmentalists were the two major uncertainties for future investment in Taiwan, protesters said government-subsidized electricity for industrial development has cost the nation its environment and health, while residents and even TSMC employees, in addition to environmentalists, were among the protesters.
TSMC contributes to the condition of the sky and poisonous air in central Taiwan, the letter said.
Clean rooms in the company’s factories might be the only place where people could breathe clean air, it said, calling on the company to fulfill its corporate responsibility.
Protesters said they would be collecting signatures to launch a referendum on whether the expansion project should be discontinued.
PILLAGING PENGHU: A 7,539-tonne Chinese ship found mining sand in the Formosa Banks area was escorted by several CGA ships to a Kaohsiung harbor The Coast Guard Administration (CGA) yesterday announced that it had dispatched ships to intercept Chinese dredging vessels operating in the nation’s territorial waters near Penghu and detained 10 crew members, who were transported to Kaohsiung. A coast guard patrol discovered more than 20 dredging vessels in an area known as the Formosa Banks, 46 nautical miles (85km) southwest of Penghu County’s Cimei islet (七美) at about 5am on Wednesday. The agency responded by dispatching two patrol boats, the 3,000-tonne Kaohsiung and the 500-tonne Penghu, along with two frigates, to intercept the Chinese vessels, while an airborne observation unit was used to monitor
‘HONEYMOON’ IS OVER: A political science professor said that the Tsai administration’s popularity peaked after it successfully contained COVID-19, but is waning President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) and Premier Su Tseng-chang’s (蘇貞昌) approval ratings fell significantly this month in the wake of the government’s handling of the distribution of relief funds and stimulus coupons to people and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, a poll released yesterday by the New Power Party (NPP) showed. The poll showed that 68 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with Tsai’s performance, down 8.9 percentage points from last month, while 21 percent said they disapproved of her performance. Her approval among respondents aged 20 to 29 fell 14.7 percentage points, the largest decrease when compared with other age
CAUTION: The CECC would first observe how the nation fares after easing domestic restrictions and wait for the pandemic to further subside before making its next move The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said that relaxing domestic restrictions and border controls simultaneously might complicate efforts to reopen the nation, amid discussions about Taiwan’s exclusion by other countries in their first lists of tourists. The center hopes for there to be a period of observation following the easing of domestic restrictions, before it decides what to do next, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, told a daily news briefing in Taipei. Chen was responding to a question about the reasoning behind the central government’s decision not to allow foreign students into the
Taiwan respects other countries’ decisions not to include it in their first lists of tourists allowed entry when they reopen their borders, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. The Yomiuri Shimbun on Sunday reported that the Japanese government was considering reopening the country to tourists from Thailand, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand first. Greece on Friday announced that from June 15, it would allow visitors from 29 countries, including Australia, China, the Czech Republic, Japan, Israel, New Zealand, South Korea and Germany. Japan has not yet finalized its visitor list, but the ministry has conveyed its hope that Tokyo would