Thousands march demanding clean air and algal reef preservation

2018/11/03 19:34:45 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Thousands march demanding clean air and algal reef preservation

Taipei, Nov. 3 (CNA) Thousands marched in an anti-pollution parade in Taipei on Saturday afternoon, demanding that the government reduce the use of coal in generating electricity and preserve algal reefs along the Taoyuan coast.

Environmentalists from several organizations held the parade on Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office and also set up stands to provide information on environmental sustainability and algal reef ecology.

About 5,000 people participated in the march, which started at 2:41 p.m. Among those taking part were Legislator Freddy Lim (林昶佐) of the New Power Party, New Taipei mayoral candidate Hou Yu-ih (侯友宜) of the Kuomintang (KMT), and KMT lawmaker Wang Yu-min (王育敏), according to the organizers.

Taoyuan Local Union Director-General Pan Chong-cheng (潘忠政) said before the start of the march that Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦) vowed to establish a nature reserve for the algal reefs along the coast of Taoyuan four years ago and should fulfill his promise before local elections on Nov. 24.

Lin Hui-chen (林惠真), a professor in Tunghai University's Department of Life Science, said the 7,600-year-old Taoyuan algal reefs are valuable natural assets, and she urged Taiwan's government to propose a better energy policy.

Environmentalists are worried that a plan to build a liquefied natural gas receiving terminal on the Taoyuan coast will affect the reefs, which are home to an endemic species of Crustose coralline algae.

The project passed a controversial environmental impact assessment (EIA) in October, in which only seven of the 18 members on the EIA committee cast votes on whether to approve the assessment after independent members of the committee complained of government interference in the process.

All seven votes were cast in favor of passing the EIA, but six were cast by government-appointed members to the committee.

The government has argued that Taiwan needs a third LNG receiving terminal to store the natural gas necessary to meet the government's goal of having natural gas account for 50 percent of Taiwan's electricity supply by 2025.

The rest will come from coal-fired plants (30 percent) and renewable sources (20 percent).

(By Yu Hsiao-han and Chi Jo-yao)

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