Canoeing on a section of the Tamsui River (淡水河), the major river flowing through Taipei City, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) promised residents yesterday that they would be allowed to canoe on the river from this summer onward.
Claiming that the water in the river in February was the cleanest it had been in three decades, Hau said professionals would first be allowed to conduct lifesaving training on the river before next month, while residents would be allowed to canoe on the river’s Dajia (大佳) section during the summer break between July and September.
It will mark the first time the river has been opened to boaters for canoeing or kayaking in decades, given the notorious pollution that used to sully its name.
Taipei residents have been kept away from the river by polluted river water and high flood control walls along the riverbanks, Hau said, adding however that in recent years, the water quality had improved after strenuous cleaning efforts by the Taipei City, Taipei County and Keelung governments.
The Tamsui River rises in Keelung and runs through Taipei City and Taipei County before flowing into the Taiwan Strait on the west coast.
Hau said that in the future the city government would allow coffee shops or cafe stands to open along the riverbanks.
The Environment Protection Administration minister-designate Shen Shih-hung (沈世宏), who joined Hau yesterday aboard another two-seater canoe, said that while the water quality of the river was OK during flood-tide periods, waterborne activities were not encouraged during ebb-tide periods.
He also suggested that canoeists should carry bottled water to wash their mouths if they came into contact with the river water.