Tue, May 14, 2013 - Page 8 News List

[ LETTER ]

Protection before profits

One of my favorite things about Taiwanese culture is how environmentally conscious many people are.

Not only do most people try to protect the environment, but Taiwanese also love to enjoy the great outdoors. Hiking, cycling, outdoor photography and many water-based activities are very popular.

I am an avid surfer, so I am happy to see that surfing is growing in popularity Taiwan.

One of my favorite places to surf is at Wushih(烏石) Harbor in Yilan County. The area is very beautiful and every summer attracts many people from across the nation.

However, while I was surfing this past weekend, I saw that the local government has granted leasing rights for the middle section of the beach to a private company. The company is building an all terrain vehicle (ATV) and motorcycle track for paying customers to use.

The track is being built on the sand, right in front of the water. The company is using tractors to dig up the sand and build the track.

It is also not allowing access to the water in front of the leased area, so that it can offer customers water-sports activities.

I feel that there are many problems with the Yilan County Government allowing a company to charge people to ride motorcycles on the beach.

First, motorcycles can leak oil that will drain right into the ocean. There are currently several streams running through the land in question into the ocean.

When I was surfing, there was a layer of oil on the surface of the ocean in front of the leased land and there was also a layer of oil on the surface of a stream.

I cannot claim that oil from the company’s machinery caused the spill, but I can assure you that any spill will go directly into the ocean.

There is also the risk of accidentally driving a motorcycle into the ocean as the track is very close to the water.

Oil in the ocean would lead to health problems for swimmers and would poison the fish Taiwanese eat.

As a kid, I enjoyed riding motorcycles. However, I think that the beach is a bad place to build a race track.

The track will need constant repairs, which means a polluting tractor will constantly be at work on the beach.

There are plenty of places in Yilan with harder soil. They would require less frequent repairs.

The ATVs and bikes will create many ruts in the sand and in the mounds of dirt that the company has already created with its tractor.

A hard-soil field would be a much better alternative.

Many local residents that I talked with do not like the motorcycles because of the environmental pollution and sound pollution they cause.

I hope that your readers will both boycott this company if they visit Wushih Harbor and try to persuade the Yilan County Government to discontinue the company’s land exploitation.

I know that Taiwanese would want to put the protection of the nation above a company’s profit.

This is why these exploiters should be stopped by the public.

Please ask your readers to inform themselves of this issue and take a stance.

Frank Li

Keelung

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