Wed, Sep 20, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Environmental groups ‘exorcise’ Yunlin pollution

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Environmental groups yesterday staged an “exorcism” in front of the Executive Yuan complex in Taipei in a bid to dispel what they called the air pollution and garbage problems “haunting” Yunlin County.

The ritual sends away ghosts on the final day of Ghost Month — the seventh month of the lunar calendar — when the gate to the underworld is said to close.

Association of Yunlin Art, Culture and Ecology member Lin Fu-yuan (林富源) said Environmental Protection Administration Minister Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) and Yunlin County Commissioner Lee Chin-yung (李進勇) should do something about the air pollution caused by Formosa Petrochemical Corp’s naphtha cracker in Mailiao Township (麥寮).

Yunlin County also has to take 1.8 tonnes of furnace slag for 1 tonne of garbage burned in Kaohsiung’s incinerator, Lin said, adding that the questionable quality of the slag makes it impossible to reuse it in public construction projects.

Taiwan Water Resources Protection Union director Jennifer Nien (粘麗玉) called on Premier William Lai (賴清德) to convene an ad hoc committee to tackle Yunlin County’s environmental problems.

The protesters presented oyster and clam shells to honor government officials’ images on an altar to remind them of the mass deaths of clams and abnormal growth of oysters in the county that some have linked to air pollution.

Lee Chin-yung should prohibit the company from burning coal and petroleum cakes, Taiwan Environmental Protection Union member Wu Li-hui (吳麗慧) said.

She raised concerns about Ciaotou (橋頭) Elementary School students moving back to their Syucuo (許厝) branch, given that the site is only about 900m from the naphtha cracker.

The urine tests of students at Syucuo were found to contain higher levels of thiodiglycolic acid than those of students based farther from the plant, studies published in 2014 by the National Health Research Institute found.

Following the “exorcism,” the protesters marched to the Democratic Progressive Party’s headquarters, about 650m away, to submit a petition.

A party representative received the petition, but was unable to respond to their demands.

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