Taipei, Over 1,000 owners of two-stroke scooters rallied on Ketagalan Boulevard in Taipei on Sunday to protest the government's plan to ban such vehicles on certain designated roads.
A draft amendment to the Air Pollution Control Act, which would ban two-stroke scooters, passed its first reading at the Legislative Yuan earlier this month.
Under the amendment, the Environmental Protection Administration will authorize city and county governments to designate air quality protection areas and prohibit old two-stroke scooters that emit black exhaust fumes from entering those areas.
Lo Yi (??), a spokesman for an alliance against the ban on two-stroke scooters, said during the protest that the government has repeatedly placed restrictions on old scooters, including tightening emission standards and limiting the right of the scooters' owners to drive them.
Yet, the vehicles conform with relevant environmental protection regulations and had passed factory inspection reports, and the owners still pay taxes on them, Lo said.
"What laws are we violating in riding scooters and two-stroke vehicles?" Lo asked.
He also argued that the government was going after "small chimneys" rather than the "big ones" because the main sources of air pollution, he said, are factories.
The number of two-stroke scooters has been declining, and these vehicles now contribute less than 1 percent of PM2.5 particulates.
PM2.5 is a microscopic particle that is often responsible for causing air pollution-related health issues.
The protesters had four demands, including eliminating regulations targeting scooters and refraining from tightening emission standards for old scooters.
They also wanted the government to submit a report on daily traffic volume of two-stroke scooters on roads over the past 3-5 years and its effect on air quality, and to convene public hearings on the issue.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel