Forestry Bureau calls for algal reef nature reserve

EXPRESSING CONCERNS::Students from a school in Greater Tainan sent President Ma Ying-jeou drawings and letters asking him to protect the algal reefs in Taoyuan

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Sun, Jun 16, 2013 - Page 3

The Forestry Bureau yesterday said it has asked the Taoyuan County Government to deliberate plans for designating a nature reserve.

The bureau made the remarks in response to a campaign held at the National University of Tainan- affiliated Experimental Elementary School in Greater Tainan on Thursday, in which more than 500 students sent letters and drawings to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) asking him to protect the algal reef growing along the coastline of Taoyuan County.

The campaign was initiated by a teacher, Chang Ching-chieh (張景傑), who told his students that the algal reef growing between the county’s Guanyin (觀音) and Sinwu (新屋) townships is facing extinction because of industrial water pollution.

In their letters, the students expressed their concerns to Ma.

One wrote: “Maybe you are sitting in an office, but I think you should come to see the scenery and learn about the plants that are being threatened.”

The letters also appealed to the central government to establish a nature reserve, in accordance with the Cultural Resources Preservation Act (文化資產保存法), to protect the algal reef.

According to the school, its principal received a call from the Presidential Office on Friday, saying that Ma had taken the students’ requests into consideration.

The bureau yesterday said that in May last year, it asked the Taoyuan County Government to make an assessment for establishing a nature reserve in the area, adding that it would ask the local government to finish the assessment report as soon as possible.

However, protecting the reefs is not only about establishing a nature reserve, but about how to eliminate the hazards threatening it, the bureau said, adding that, after inviting governmental agencies for on-site inspections and discussions in May last year, it decided that the first priority should be to prevent further physical and chemical harm to the reef.

Working with the Environmental Protection Administration, the Taoyuan County Government has implemented several industrial wastewater emission inspection programs in the area, the bureau said.

The bureau said it would continue to request the Taoyuan County Government to provide the most adequate nature reserve solution plan for review.