CLEAN AIR IN CENTRAL TAIWAN
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THIS IS A PETITION FOR CLEAN AIR ON BEHALF OF FOREIGN RESIDENTS IN THE CENTRAL TAIWAN AREA.
CHINESE TRANSLATION BELOW
This petition will be presented to the Taiwan and Taichung City Government and also the media in Taiwan.
STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF FOREIGN RESIDENTS IN CENTRAL TAIWAN
As representatives of the large and diverse foreign community in Central Taiwan, we love Taiwan and care very much about its future. For many of us, Taiwan is our chosen home, we have partners, families and businesses here. We are not here to criticise Taiwan’s problems and then leave to go back to our home countries. However, many of us feel that if you love something, then you must be honest and acknowledge its faults. Central Taiwan’s air pollution is one such fault. Air pollution affects everyone. It does not discriminate between Taiwanese and foreigners.
For visitors to Taiwan, Taiwan truly deserves its name as a beautiful island, but there is a dark cloud over the island - a literal one. Every time you descend from the mountains there is a visible haze over the western coastal plain, blanketing it in orange smog. Visitors to this place deserve to see a better side of the island.
Foreign investors see Taiwan as a place with many of the same advantages as China but with a higher quality of both life and product. But, it’s easy to see that the quality of the air is very poor. Many of the companies that Taiwan needs as customers and suppliers now demand that the energy used to produce their products be cleanly generated. Taiwan needs to get in front of this global trend to remain competitive.
Foreign community parents in Taiwan face the same issues as everyone else, with the added pain of knowing that the environment we live in is harming the health of our most loved ones. We have seen cleaner parts of the world, and we know that we can do better and still have a healthy economy.
For foreign teachers, this is more than a personal problem. Teachers care deeply about the safety of the children they are responsible for. These children are the future of Taiwan, yet they will grow up with risks to their health which are not in any way their fault.
In closing, we call on the governments of Taiwan and Taichung to do three things to help improve the quality of the air.
1. BAN POLLUTING VEHICLES
We hope to see Taiwan ban polluting vehicles like two-stroke scooters and tighten emissions standards for all vehicles. This is the single step that helped LA turn its orange skies into blue ones. The EPA has regulations on the emission standards of vehicles, but only for new ones, not old ones. Currently, the strategy for old vehicles is to simply wait until those vehicles retire.
In Paris, France, the city government has banned all vehicles made before 1997 from entering the city on weekdays between 8am and 8pm. Starting in July 2017, the French government will issue stickers in 6 color classifications for all vehicles according to their emissions.
When the air quality is poor, towns and cities in France will be able to forbid vehicles with certain colors from entering certain areas. France also offers 400 Euros to citizens who give up their old car and that money can be used for an annual public transport pass or a bicycle. We would like to encourage the Taiwan government to implement similar policies to reduce emissions, the use of certain vehicles, and set up a green transportation system.
There are some steps being taken such as free public transport within a 10km journey and implementation of the UBike system. These are great initiatives, but work on regulating vehicles is also needed.
2. INVEST IN CLEAN ENERGY
We are aware that the government is beginning to promote and invest in clean energy for the future. By 2025 the plan is to generate 50% of electricity from natural gas and 20% from renewable energy. We would like to ask the government to publish their plan to close the coal power plant in accordance with the Paris Agreement.
3. REVISE AIR QUALITY STANDARDS
We ask the government to stop saying the air is safe for children when it is not. The EPA has adopted the US AQI standard, but they only take action to reduce pollution levels when the PM2.5 level is 150μg/m3. We would like to see the Taiwan EPA adopt EU standards where PM2.5 is 70μg/m3 and PM10 is 80μg/m3.
We would all like to work in together with the city government and people of Taichung to fix this problem. We can make a cleaner and healthier future for all of us.
All are welcome to sign and share this petition in support of clean air.
4. 對於外國老師而言，空氣污染已經不是個人的問題。老師非常在乎學生們的安全，而這些孩子就是台灣的未來啊! 他們的成長過程卻暴露在這樣的空氣汙染風險中，而這個空氣汙染也不是他們的錯啊!
3. 我們要求政府不要在空氣不好的時候，還說這樣的空氣對孩子而言是安全的。環保署採用的美國的AQI指標，但其擬訂的空氣品質惡化緊急防制辦法，PM2.5要達150μg/m3才會採取行動。我們希望環保局能採用歐盟的標準，當PM2.5 達70μg/m3、PM10達80μg/m3時便採取降低污染的行動。
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