Mon, Nov 20, 2006 - Page 8 News List

Questions linger over Shenao plant

By Chiau Wen-yan 邱文彥

Under Taipower's plan, shipping lanes for the coal ships will be dredged, which would doubtlessly damage coral reefs and the marine shelf.

Once such habitat is damaged, the survival of the fishing industry would be threatened.

The dredging would also destroy Chaoching Park (潮竟公園) and its beautiful, hard-to-replace coral reefs, which divers refer to as their "secret underground gardens."

Leaving aside the issue of whether the plant's air pollution can be effectively controlled, its 250m chimneys -- about 83 floors high -- and six 72m coal storage silos -- about 24 floors high -- would no doubt destroy the view from houses built along the coast and would also reduce the attractiveness of nearby Chaoching Park, Chiufen (九份) and Chinkuashi (金瓜石).

The beauty of the northeastern coast is important to many people in Taiwan, not just those who live in the area.

Still, the government has not asked for input to maintain its attractiveness from such obvious sources as National Taiwan Ocean University, Pisha Harbor (碧沙港) and the National Museum of Marine Science and Technology.

The Shenao coal facility is not a simple case of planning for and building a small port.

It is fraught with problems and will have a far-reaching environmental impact.

I ask the government to take a good look at this major project, which will affect the nation's sustainable development.

I hope that the dense development of the northeast coast will leave fishery resources and and secret underground gardens intact for future generations.

Chiau Wen-yan is a professor and director of the Institute of Marine Resource Management at National Taiwan Ocean University.

Translated by Jason Cox and Perry Svensson

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