Fri, Mar 04, 2005 - Page 2 News List

City pushes coral reef awareness

SEA CHANGE The Taipei City Government has linked up with the private sector in an effort to let the public learn of the importance of the nation's marine environment

By Chiu Yu-Tzu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Kindergarten students perform at an activity staged by the Taipei City Government and private companies designed to promote understanding of the nation's marine environment in Taipei yesterday.

PHOTO: CHIANG YING-YING, TAIPEI TIMES

Coral reefs along Taiwan's coastline are more accessible then most popular ecotourism attractions in other countries and action should be taken to prevent the reefs from threats such as pollution and physical damage, ecologists said yesterday.

Taipei City Government yesterday launched a series of activities promoting the preservation of marine resources, including coral reefs.

The government is making use of media companies and other commercial firms as part of the promotion, including broadcasting media, and has launched a signature drive to encourage the public to embed environmental protection concepts in their daily lives.

"Directly or indirectly, the millions of people living in Taipei consume a huge amount of marine resources. That's why we have to make a bigger effort to promote issues of ecological preservation in Taipei, which is also the nation's main source of information to effectively educate the public," said Lin Sheng-chung (林聖忠), the director of the city government's Department of Economic Development, at a press conference yesterday.

Jeng Ming-shiou (鄭明修), who is a zoologist at the Academia Sinica, said that coral reefs along the nation's coastline are more accessible then those overseas.

"In Kenting, or around the offshore islets, you can just dive in and enjoy the rich system of coral reefs. For years I've heard this kind of praise about the preciousness of the reefs from many overseas researchers working in the area," Jeng said.

Tourists have to take lengthy boat trips to reach some famed ecological sites elsewhere in the world, including the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

Jeng, who is also the director-general of the Taiwanese Coral Reef Society, said accessibility also makes reefs vulnerable to over-fishing, environmental pollution and physical damage. Jeng said people should not take it for granted that consuming fish was a necessary part of ecotourism.

"The government needs to take action too. For example, a number of wrecked ships remain on the sea floor. This is killing our coral reef networks," Jeng said.

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