Two-stroke scooter owners yesterday staged another protest in front of the Legislative Yuan in Taipei against a possible ban on old vehicles, after draft amendments to the Air Pollution Control Act (空氣污染防制法) passed a second reading.
After protesting on Ketagalan Boulevard on Sunday last week, the protesters yesterday turned to the legislature, urging lawmakers not to pass the drafts that “hunt” two-stroke scooters.
The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) is trying to ban two-stroke scooters through draft amendments to Article 36 and Article 40 of the act, Northern Alliance Against a Ban on Two-Stroke Scooters spokesperson Lo Yi (羅宜) said.
Despite its efforts to crack down on old vehicles, the agency still allows big factories an additional pollution quota if they can reduce a certain amount of mobile pollution, which allows factories to continue polluting without reducing their total emissions, Lo said, adding that they might stage larger protests if the EPA does not change its policy.
Facing the same questions from opposition lawmakers during cross-party negotiations on Thursday, EPA Minister Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) said that factory owners are required to trade 1 tonne of stationary pollution for every 3.3 tonnes of mobile pollution reduced, which is not an equal trade-off.
The EPA’s draft amendment to Article 36 would tighten emission standards for vehicles more than 10 years old, while its draft amendment to Article 40 states that vehicles not compliant with the new standards would be banned from entering certain air quality regulation zones.
The two drafts, along with other less controversial ones, passed a second reading yesterday.
After protesting at the Legislative Yuan’s side entrance, the demonstrators circled around the compound on their scooters and stopped at its front entrance, demanding a response from lawmakers.
Representing the Legislative Yuan, secretariat officer Fu Ching-hua (傅金華) said he would submit their petition to Procedure Committee.
People are advised to replace old cars with ones that pollute less as soon as possible, as the agency plans to end subsidies for new cars by the end of next year, EPA Department of Air Quality Protection and Noise Control Director-General Tsai Hung-teh (蔡鴻德) said separately.
Two-stroke scooters were produced before 2004, meaning that they are more than 10 years old and emit more pollution, he said.
After the drafts are passed, the EPA would launch new emission standards for old vehicles, which are expected to come into effect in 2020, Tsai added.
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