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Taiwan's environmental problems, Scottish independence, Islamic world must isolate extremists, Australia's economic disparity, and making New Delhi a livable city

This week's round-up of commentary covers the environmental problems caused by celebrating holidays in Taiwan, the problems of Scottish independence, the need of the Islamic world to isolate extremists, the economic disparity in Australia, and the need to make Delhi a livable city.

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    From left, the Union Jack, St George's Cross and the Saltire fly at Adderstone, England, Sept. 8. The British government plans to offer Scotland more financial autonomy in the coming days as polls predict a very close vote in the September 18 on Scottish independence.
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The China Post / Taipei, Taiwan
Observing religious holidays is harming the environment

“During Chinese New Year, firecrackers and joss sticks are used ... [for] celebratory purposes. [D]uring ... the festival, the smoke created either by joss sticks or firecrackers is ... abundant...,” states an editorial. “The most obvious downside to these traditions is none other than air pollution.... Along with littering and noise pollution ... the Chinese tradition is arguably environmentally harmful as well as dangerous to people who live in areas with a high population density like Taipei. Based on available scientific knowledge and the development of the Taiwanese population today, it is surprising to see that religious practice hasn’t advanced to a form that is environmentally friendly while abiding by cultural and traditional norms.” 

The Guardian / London
Independence is no panacea for Scotland’s problems

Recommended: 10 organizations that protect the environment

“There is a myth in the yes campaign which casts the Scots as unusually social democratic, fair and inclusive in ways that the English and Welsh are not.... The trouble with this is that it is not true...,” states an editorial about Scotland’s efforts to secede from Britain. “The reality for modern nation states is that they all face a global economic order in which corporate power is in the ascendant, threatening the livelihoods of the poor and averagely well-off with no respect for borders, and against which most elected politicians can only deploy limited authority.... There may be other arguments for Scottish independence, but the illusion that an independent Scotland could somehow escape these unavoidable contemporary policy dilemmas should not be one of them.” 

The Tehran Times / Tehran, Iran
Islamic world must separate extremist groups

“There is no question that [militant group Islamic State] represents a malignant force.... [It] reveals a barbaric nature in the eyes of many in this world. Without a doubt, the isolation of such people from the Islamic world is a necessity as the true image of Islam is being ruined by their corrupt and misguided beliefs,” writes Issa Rezazadeh. “The Islamic world should insist that terror, beheading and horrific acts have no place in Islam.... Moreover, [IS] should recognize that as long as their hearts are filled with hatred and fear, victory will never be achieved through their continuous acts of violence.”  

The Age / Melbourne, Australia
Economic disparity in neighborhoods leads to disconnection between groups

“A survey conducted this year for the Australia Institute, found ... nearly all Australians think the average income [nationwide] is the same as their own income...,” writes Ross Gittins. “I’m sure there are various reasons [we are so out of touch], but one of the big ones is something that’s been going on for years without most of us noticing. Our cities are becoming more socially stratified.... These days, [in Australia] you’re less and less likely to find suburbs with a cross-section of high and low income-earners.... So we don’t know how the other half lives because they are in the other half [of the city] – the half we live far away from....”

The Times of India / Mumbai
Indians must make New Delhi a livable city

“Today, I saw a young teenage girl throwing an empty bottle of coke on the pavement. There was a dustbin not far away. If even the young are littering then there is no hope for this country...,” writes Ashali Varma. “It is as if anything goes in this country. A couple of years ago the Delhi Chief Minister tried to ban plastic bags, which are a serious cause for concern as they pollute the environment and our waterways but it never happened because the plastic bag lobby was too strong and insisted thousands would lose jobs if such a move took place.... When will we learn that sometimes it is not only about jobs – it is about quality of life, safety and a livable city?.... If [Kuala Lumpur], Bangkok and Singapore can do it surely New Delhi can. It just needs political will together with citizens who want to make a difference.”

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