An environmental alliance said yesterday it has raised enough money to buy 200 hectares of wetlands in Changhua County, in the first phase of a campaign to place the coastal area into public trust and thus prevent the construction of a petrochemical plant there.
The Matsu Fish Conservation Union, a coalition of Taiwanese non-governmental organizations, initiated the campaign in April with the aim of preserving the habitat of the endangered Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins and other marine life in the waters off the west coast.
The area of coastal wetlands near the mouth of the Chuoshui River (濁水溪) hosts a complete ecosystem that includes migratory birds, fiddler crabs, mudskippers, mud shrimps and the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins, the union said.
The population of humpback dolphins in the waters along the coast is now about 100, compared with an estimated 200 in 2006, it said.
So far, more than 50,000 members of the public have pledged donations to a fund to buy the 200 hectares of the coastal wetlands, the alliance said.
In the second phase of the campaign, which began earlier this month, the aim is to raise enough money to purchase another 800 hectares of the wetlands, the union said.
The union is offering shares of 1m2 each, at a cost of NT$119 per share.
Its goal is to foil a plan by Kuokuang Petrochemical Technology Corp to buy the wetlands for the construction of a 4,000-hectare petrochemical complex.
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