Environmental protection groups in Kaohsiung yesterday protested against air pollution and global warming, urging the local and central governments to pay attention to the effects of air pollution on people’s health in southern Taiwan.
The groups demanded that the coal-fired Hsinta Power Plant (興達) in Kaohsiung be closed; China Steel Corp, the nation’s biggest steelmaker, close one blast furnace; the threshold for air pollution emergency response measures be lowered; and air purifiers be installed in all classrooms.
The average life expectancy of Kaohsiung residents is the lowest among the nation’s six special municipalities, South Taiwan Air Clear spokesman Lee Chien-cheng (李建誠) said.
Photo: Wang Jung-hsiang, Taipei Times
The city’s infant mortality rate and lung adenocarcinoma incidence rate in the past 10 years were the highest among the six special municipalities, Lee said.
Kaohsiung residents would prefer better air quality to protect their children over this year’s Double Ten National Day fireworks display, which Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chi-mai’s (陳其邁) announced last month would be held in the city, he said.
Air Clean Taiwan chairman Yeh Guang-perng (葉光芃) said the annual mean concentration of particulate matter smaller than 2.5 micrometers in Toronto is 5.9 micrograms per cubic meter, but it is 19.9 micrograms per cubic meter in Kaohsiung, which is about 3.4 times as much.
Chen said the fireworks display is part of the national celebration, adding that the city government would strive to make “the best arrangement” by assessing the appropriate location for the show.
Chen also pledged that no new coal-fired power generators would be installed in the city and echoed the groups’ demand that the Hsinta Power Plant be retired by 2025.
The city would expand its photovoltaic power generation capacity, and promote the use of solar power arrays on fish farms in the next six years to achieve a coal-free Kaohsiung by 2030 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, he said.
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