Legislators across party lines sought yesterday to push for new legislation to protect the environment.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chiu Wen-yen (邱文彥), Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tien Chiu-chin (田秋堇) and People First Party Legislator Chang Show-foong (張曉風) called for cross-party cooperation on legislation to protect local wetlands and coastlines.
On Feb. 2, World Wetlands Day, the three legislators held a joint public hearing to press for the protection of a wetland area near Wugoushui Village (五溝水), in Pingtung County’s Wanluan Township (萬巒).
The county government has proposed building anti-flood works near the village, a move that is considered likely to damage the eco-system of an area that is rich in springs and rare fish species.
Chiu, a former Environmental Protection Administration deputy minister, said it is essential that local fishermen are better informed about coastline reserves.
“We have to make sure they are aware that setting up a coastline reserve is not the same thing as limiting fishing,” Chiu said. “Instead, setting up a reserve to protect the coastline, where the ecosystem is particularly fragile, facilitates the cultivation of fishery resources.”
Similarly, pushing for new legislation to protect the country’s wetlands is aimed at ensuring sustainable development, Chiu added.
Legislation to protect the wetlands ensures that development projects in such areas strictly adhere to standard procedures, he said. It also has the added benefit of providing guidance on how to conduct research into wetlands and educating the public on how best to protect them, he said.
Chang, a writer and prominent environmental activist, said one of her major goals as a legislator is to push for the passage of bills that protect the nation’s coastlines and wetlands.
Having made a name for herself as a result of her opposition to the building of a biotech research center on wetlands in Taipei’s Nangang District (南港) in 2010, Chang has said she would like to work with legislators from other parties.
Meanwhile, Tien stressed the need for more communication with fishermen’s associations, in the light of an expected backlash from such groups over the designation of coastline reserve areas.