DPP city councilors in Taichung have questioned Mayor Lu Shiow-yen’s (盧秀燕) dedication to reducing air pollution in the city. Multiple lawmakers in the city stated that air quality in Taichung has worsened since Lu took office and that she should take responsibility for the situation.
DPP City Councilor Chiang Chao-kuo (江肇國) asked why the city would fail in its commitment to reduce coal use to 40% by the end of the year and demanded that someone in the government take responsibility, Apple Daily reported. In response, Wu Chih-chao (吳志超), head of the city’s Environmental Protection Bureau, said that he would take responsibility for the situation.
Wu said that in the first four months of the year there were only 15.8 days with an AQI above 100, which is an improvement from 28.6 days in the same period last year. He added, “The city government will continue to work hard to improve air quality.” He noted, however, that reducing air pollution requires long-term effort from the public and private sectors.
Chiang wrote on Facebook that the previous mayor succeeded in reducing PM2.5 levels in Taichung and was on track to reach a target reduction by 2020. Before leaving office, the average PM2.5 level was 18.8 mg/m3 and the target was 15 mg/m3 by 2020. However, after 151 days under Mayor Lu, the level has increased to 21.4 mg/m3. He asked that Mayor Lu apologize for the worsening air quality in the city.
After claiming that the mayor would not sign any commitments to reducing air pollution, DPP City Councilor Jan Hsieh-chih (讓謝志) said, “You don’t dare to sign. You are a fraud.”
Taichung’s coal power plant is the second-largest coal plant in the world and the largest emitter of carbon dioxide emissions at approximately 40 million tons per year. In November 2017, the city government demanded the power plant reduce its coal consumption by 24% starting in January 2018.