By Martin Su
As local elections coming up within 3 weeks, more than 40 environmental groups gathered together to host 3 anti air pollution marches in Northern(11/3), Central(11/11), and Southern(11/18) Taiwan. The goal is to voice their concern toward the current government in regard to the energy transition plan and their anti air pollution efforts.
The first march happened the past Saturday and had more than 5000 people attend. There were an emphasis on the poor location for the new planned natural gas port site, stating that it will destroy algae reefs that were there more than 7600 years ago. The event started with a press conference with a display of a voting sign made with red umbrellas, representing the idea that people will vote for the right candidates that support a better environment. The umbrellas will be pass on to Kaohsiung in the south for the march on the 11th and then Taichung in the center by the 18th.
After the press conference, participants gathered in front of the presidential building with several environmental leaders and groups giving speeches. The whole group then started marching toward the Executive Yuan to deliver a message to the Premier. The message was that he should not dictate all the decision regarding energy transition. Premier Lai Ching-Te was the one who canceled a planned coal firing plant in Shenao, New Taipei and approved the construction of the natural gas port in Kwun Tong, Taoyuan. There was even a huge mocking sign of the face and palm of the Premier at the march. The anti air pollution march also went to the headquarter of the current governing party to protest how the current president Tsai Tsai Ing-wen used to promise to preserve the algae reefs back in 2013. However, now her administration is about to destroy the are with a natural gas port.
Aside from adults protesting, there were kids dressing up as sea animals and plants to represent sea life. They are there to remind people that they are the future generation who will face the aftermath of the destruction of the ports. Therefore, our decision on who to vote for will mean greatly to their lives. In that regard, there were many participation from other political parties. They all voiced their support for a better environmental policy and plan as most of them are the opposing parties from the current governing party. They are calling for a reconsideration for the port as well as better anti air pollution policy.
All in all, the march made many points and demands to push the current government to rethink their actions and plans toward energy transition and anti air pollution measures. There will be more demands coming up in the next two weeks as both Central and Southern Taiwan faces more severe air pollution issues. The government are warned to act upon these demands or they will get retaliated by the votes of the people during the upcoming local elections. The organization group will be sharing what the candidates are proposing in regard to air pollution issues by the end of the last march, giving the public another tool to decide who to vote for.