Monday, November 12, 2007

EPA and supporters celebrate 9th year of green lifestyle

Farmer burning waste

The headline EPA and supporters celebrate 9th year of green lifestyle in today's Taipei Times caught my eye. I had a look and read how the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) and thousands of environmental volunteers in a number of cities and counties yesterday celebrated the EPA's ninth year of its Low-carbon Lifestyle Program.

While I'm all for programs and efforts to reduce carbon levels and applaud and encourage any such effort I couldn't help thinking that this was just another green-washing type drive to lay a smoke screen over the EPA's reluctance to really make a concerted effort to do something concrete to address the issue of Taiwan's carbon emissions problem.

I dread October and November each year because I know that that is the time that countless farmers burn their fields and every piece of garbage and unwanted vegetation they can rake together. For about eight weeks my nose constantly runs, I cough and get headaches. The washing smells like a bonfire and the house gets full of ash. I can't see the buildings just a few hundred meters down the road. I wonder if I'm the only one in Taiwan that feels this way? Why should we put up with this? Burning trash is illegal! This happens openly and what do the authorities do? Nothing, it would seem !

I mentioned this to a friend living in another county. He said that perhaps it was only a problem in my area. I replied saying I didn't think so. In the weeks that followed I travelled the length of the country from Taipei to Kenting. And from the train and bus window I could see fire after fire after fire for weeks on end stretching from north to south along the western coastal plain. I wonder how much carbon is emitted from the this uncontrolled burning? We haven't even got to the factories, and the cars.

The EPA seems set on trying to help pass projects like the Hushan Reservoir to get those west coast development projects off the ground. Sure, money will be made in the short-term but what about the environment and all of creation that has to live, eat, drink and breath the pollution? How much will we have to pay to clean up the mess we are making for a quick buck?

Come on EPA. Let's get real and really do something about Taiwan's carbon emissions and do your bit in creating a real Low-carbon Lifestyle program for all of Taiwan.

Taipower through the haze, Wuchi, Taichung

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