TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) Minister Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) said on Thursday that if the current measures could not effectively reduce air pollution, the government would consider tougher policies such as a congestion charge or restrictions on the number of vehicles in cities.
Lee said the administration had set a goal of decreasing the annual number of red alerts for unhealthy air quality across the country by 20 percent by May 20, 2018 compared to 2015.
If the administration fails, Lee said he would take complete responsibility and resign.
Lee said the administration, along with other public and private entities, has planned to allocate NT$200 billion to address air pollution problems.
In addition, some city governments, such as Kaohsiung and Taichung, have offered discounts to people taking public transportation, while at the same time the authorities have imposed higher fares to businesses whose operations involve the use of pollutants.
Lee said if the current measures could not successfully bring down air pollution and thus fail to meet the goal due next year, the government should consider using stricter approaches.
Lee mentioned that London had imposed a congestion charge while Singapore had control over the number of cars allowed in the city. Besides, in some areas of European cities, cars are totally banned.
Lee said so far the government had not followed the steps of other cities but continued to use rewards and regulations as ways to encourage the public and businesses to help reduce air pollution.
Lee said the government would prefer not to impose tougher measures, but air pollution needed to be tackled and it was everyone’s responsibility.