Fri, Aug 22, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Exhibition focuses on water conservation

NATURAL RESOURCES The exhibition will be held at several locations around the country to educate the public about the protection of water resources in Taiwan

By Chiu Yu-Tzu  /  STAFF REPORTER

To promote water conservation and sustainable development, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) will today open a large-scale exhibition of the nation's water resources as part of annual science education activities organized by the National Science Council.

The NT$40 million exhibition, "Water Wonders of Taiwan," will be held at six locations -- two in Taipei and one each in Taichung, Kaohsiung, Pingtung and Penghu -- from today until Oct. 19.

Chen will host the opening ceremony at Taipei's Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall today.

Lin Fou-lai (林福來), director of the council's Department of Science Education, said the exhibition would include diverse topics including the water characteristics of Taiwan, ecological preservation, water resources management, features of major river basins, the deterioration of the marine environment and global water challenges.

"We integrated resources from diverse governmental agencies in order to compile information about water into teaching materials to inform the public about emerging water challenges," Lin said at a press conference yesterday.

At all the exhibition sites, Lin said, the public can learn by viewing posters explaining profound theories about water resources in plain language, films about the history of water resources, outdoor teaching activities and public speeches by writers from cultural circles.

Major governmental agencies financing the exhibition include the Ministry of Education, the Council of Agriculture and the Water Resources Bureau.

Shao Kwang-tsao (邵廣昭), one of designers of the exhibition and a senior research fellow at the Institute of Zoology at Academia Sinica, said that the exhibition would review how people's lifestyles jeopardize marine environments.

"Marine creatures in Taiwan account for about one-tenth of the total species in the world. However, we eat too many kinds of fish, causing the extinction of certain kinds of sea creatures," Shao said.

Another designer, Wang Shin (王鑫), a geography professor at National Taiwan University, said that the exhibition would also be useful in educating the public about rivers. For example, Wang said, the exhibition would trace the 4-million-year history of the Tamsui river.

Despite the apparent good intentions of the exhibition, Wang said some of the exhibition activities were controversial.

Scheduled field trips to reservoirs, rivers confined by embankments and other constructions were a target for criticism by ecological conservationists, he said.

Water resource officials have listed the Chi-Chi Weir in Nantou County as one of the destinations for field trips in the educational activities.

The government has been criticized for relying on cement to build the weir in the middle of the river as part of the Chi-Chi Common Diversion Project completed in 2001.

"Inevitably, people from academic circles and engineering circles have different interpretations of sustainable development," Wang said.

Organizers were also defensive about the lack of materials presented in English. In response to media questions, council officials said the lack of English brochures would be corrected within the next couple of weeks.

Other major exhibition designers include Yu Yue-hwa (於幼華), a National Taiwan University environmental engineering professor, Liu Chung-ming (柳中明), an atmospheric sciences professor at the university, and Wang Ching-ming (汪靜明), an environmental education professor at National Taiwan Normal University.

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