Sun, Aug 10, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Environmentalists call for better care of Taoyuan coast

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Environmental activists were outraged when they discovered that an area of algal reefs along the coast of Taoyuan County’s Guanyin Township (觀音) had been excavated to accommodate a temporary dock.

Taoyuan Local Union director-general Pan Chong-cheng (潘忠政) said he and Sinwu Township’s (新屋) Yongsing Community Development Association member Ye Ssu-guei (葉斯桂) found out about the project, which was carried out on the coast north of the Daku River (大堀溪), while inspecting the township’s coastline on Wednesday.

Some of the algal reefs along the coast of the county date back more than 7,000 years and are world heritage-worthy, he said.

Pan said the reefs form an ideal ecosphere in that it is home to a range of crabs and shellfish, adding that they are also a perfect spot for larger fish to lay eggs and for water birds to feed.

The makeshift dock is used for heavy machinery and belongs to OPTC, which is responsible for the excavation, he said.

The company is a subsidiary of the Far Eastern Group, he said.

A similar incident took place in 2007, when the Taichung Power Plant installed a fuel pipeline in the Datan Power Plant from offshore and caused severe damage to reefs, Pan said.

Pan said the Wild at Heart Legal Defense Association in 2007 called on authorities to set up a natural conservation zone covering 4km on both sides of the Daku River, but the request did not receive much attention.

“This fresh incident is similar in every way to the one which we saw seven years ago. If we do not take action now, the problem will keep recurring,” he said.

The groups demanded that the company restore the reefs it had dug out to provide a solid base for coralline algae to regenerate, in an effort to recover the ravaged ecosystem.

They also pledged to submit a request to the Taoyuan County Government to designate the area of the county’s shoreline covered by algal reefs, which spans 27km, as a natural landscape — a move that would prevent any further developments from taking place on the site.

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