Experts from around the world met in Taipei yesterday to discuss how rivers could be tamed and man-made infrastructure placed into the natural landscape with minimal environmental impact.
Chang Wen-lian (張文亮), a professor in the bioenvironmental systems engineering department at the National Taiwan University, told the participants at the two-day International Symposium on Ecological Engineering that Taiwan has much to learn from other countries.
"The Japanese first tackled ecological engineering problems in the 1920s, Germany in the '50s and America in the '60s. By contrast, we only started paying attention in Taiwan around 1998," said Chang, who also serves as the head of the school's Ecological Engineering Research Center.
Speakers from Japan, Germany and Austria gave lectures on how they dealt with the environmental challenges in their respective countries with engineering techniques that were more sensitive to the environment.
"If you use the wrong system in the wrong situation, it will be weak," Christian Weber said.
Displaying a slide photo of a collapsed concrete retaining wall in the Alps, Weber explained that a more flexible retaining wall of dry-laid stones with willow cuttings planted in the gaps as "little helpers" would have been both stronger and more environmentally appropriate.
Tourism has had a major impact on Austria's Alps, said Weber, who described ill-planned alpine roads as "long-lasting wounds."
He stressed the importance of getting engineers and ecologists to work together in planning and constructing roads and bridges in delicate environments, adding: "You cannot have tourism without a good environment."
Shun Okubu gave a presentation on the history of erosion and sediment control in Japan, which, like Taiwan, suffers frequent and deadly avalanches.
Through the re-greening of barren mountaintops and restoration of dams, various "Sabo works" have contributed to making Japan safer as well as greener.
Visiting experts also gained much from their trips to Taiwan, according to Volkhard Wetzel, director and professor at Germany's Federal Institute of Hydrology.
He said that coming to Taiwan was a chance for him to learn about extreme climate conditions.
"In 10, 20 or 30 years, we might be seeing in the kind of heavy precipitation you get here in Taiwan in Germany due to global warming," Wetzel said.
In his opening speech to the symposium, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) called for a balance between growth and environmental preservation.
"Like many other advanced countries, we used to be focused on economic growth and ignored the need to preserve our environment." Su said. "Let's not do today what we might regret tomorrow."
MISINFORMATION: The 100,000 masks given to ally Paraguay were bought in other Latin American nations, not made in Taiwan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Taiwan has not yet reached a point where it can export masks to diplomatic allies amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday, dismissing as misinformation online reports that it gave away masks to curry favor with a diplomatic ally. “Taiwan provides med-ical aid to diplomatic allies based upon specific circumstances,” Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said, adding that the supplements donated by Taiwan were all purchased locally in allied countries, in accordance with their needs. “The time is not yet ripe” for Taiwan to export medical supplies, such as surgical masks, to diplomatic allies, until
An improvised protective device for use when intubating patients designed by Taiwanese doctor Lai Hsien-yung (賴賢勇) is being adopted in the Philippines to help doctors there stay safe amid the worsening COVID-19 pandemic. “We made this acrylic aerosol box for my sister Dra. Frances Legaspi for Antipolo Doctors Hospital. Credits to Dr Lai Hsien-yung for the concept and design,” Anton Legaspi, whose family owns a business that makes customized designs, said on Facebook on Monday. The hospital is in Antipolo, about 25km east of Manila. Legaspi’s post was accompanied by several photographs of the box and a short demonstration video
Nearly 60 percent of Kaohsiung residents polled said that they would vote to recall Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), think tank Taiwan Brain Trust, which conducted the survey, said yesterday. A petition to recall the mayor is undergoing a second review and if it is passed, a vote is to be held in the latter half of June. Of those polled, 69.7 percent said that they would participate in a vote, while 56 percent said they would still participate if there was a sharp increase in the number of COVID-19 infections. The data showed that, irrespective of the COVID-19 pandemic, Han would likely
FALSE INFORMATION: The report quoted the mother of a British woman quarantined in Taiwan as saying that her daughter and the daughter’s partner are ‘in prison-like conditions’ A BBC report that quotes Britons’ complaints about quarantine conditions they experienced in Taiwan is not true, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday, expressing regret over damage done to the nation’s reputation for competent disease-prevention measures. The BBC report published on Wednesday quoted the mother of a British woman quarantined in Taiwan as saying that her daughter and the daughter’s partner were quarantined on Wednesday last week and are being kept “in prison-like conditions.” “The room is filthy. She has no hot water and nowhere to wash her clothes,” the mother was quoted as saying, without naming the location of