6 cities, counties sign environmental pledge

By Sun Hsin-hsuan ,The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — A pact against burning coal and petroleum coke was co-signed yesterday by Yunlin County Magistrate Lee Chin-yung (���i�i) and Chiayi City Mayor Twu Shiing-jer (�\����) along with officials of four other cities and counties in a bid to prevent the spread of PM2.5 particles that could harm human health.

PM2.5 is a category of air pollution particulate matter likely to cause lung disease, emphysema and lung cancer, and mainly comes from burning coal and petroleum coke, said Lee.

Lee continued by saying that an estimated reduction of 5,595 tons of sulphur dioxide, 757 tons of particulate matter and 8,200 tons of nitrogen oxides may be achieved every year by banning the use of certain fossil fuels.

Besides Lee and Twu, high-level government officials of Chiayi County, Tainan, Taichung and Changhua, as well as Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Liu Chien-kuo (�B�ذ�) and Kuomintang (KMT) Legislator Chang Chia-chun (�i�Űp), were also present at the event yesterday.

Twu said that though Chiayi City does not create the pollutants, its air quality has been suffering more and more in recent years. It is clear that air pollution is a cross-city issue that should be scrutinized and dealt with collaboratively in order to bring back clean, breathable air to people of the entire region. Several environmental protection groups participated in the campaign yesterday morning, calling on the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA, ���O�p) to guarantee complete prohibition of burning coal and petroleum coke by the end of 2016 as well as setting up at least one air quality monitoring station in every district.

Public Hearing Seeks Fundamental Solution Later in the day Liu engaged Chen Hsien-heng (���w��), director-general of the Department of Air Quality Protection and Noise Control (���O�p�ūO�B), to hold a public hearing on the issue of preventing PM2.5 in the area of Central Taiwan, Yunlin, Chiayi and Tainan.

More than 70 representatives from environmental groups, academia and the business community were present at the hearing, debating a better solution to tackle air pollution.

Central Government should Regulate Fossil Fuels: FPC In response, Formosa Petrochemical Corporation (FPC, �x���ۤƤ��q) claimed yesterday that it will continue to thoroughly execute its pollution controls, however complete prohibition of coal and petroleum coke may hinder Taiwan’s economic prosperity. Adding to its position, FPC expressed that regulations regarding burning fossil fuels should be drawn up by the central government and not at the local level. Air pollution is a national matter with Taiwan being such a small island, therefore legislation should be conducted on a nationwide basis, said FPC representatives.