A new exhibition with the title River Cruise in the Plum Tree Creek, which depicts the story of how the Plum Tree Creek (樹梅坑溪) in New Taipei City (新北市) has been polluted, opened at the National Taiwan Science Education Center yesterday.
“Plum Tree Creek located in New Taipei City’s Zhuwei (竹圍) is a stinking sewer that makes people want to cover their nose. However, 40 years ago it used to be a beautiful river,” the exhibition’s introduction says.
Displaying installation art, the exhibition simulates the appearance of the river, showing how the creek’s environment has been polluted and arbitrarily destroyed by humans throughout the years, in an effort to make visitors think more about how they can take actions to protect river environments.
At the exhibition’s entrance, 130 recycled elementary-school wooden desks and chairs are used to create the image of a culvert at the downstream sections of rivers. Visitors can explore toward the upstream section by passing through the middle stream section, which is now seriously polluted by wastewater from pig farms, factories and nearby households.
The center said exhibition director Wu Mali had initiated a series of activities, called “Environmental Art Movement at Plum Tree Creek,” that gathered many residents of Zhuwei to take part in events to get to understand the pollution history of the creek and also come up with ideal blueprints for a better living environment.
The center passed on a story by a resident surnamed Chen (陳) who has lived in Zhuwei for about 40 years, which tells how he remembers people catching shrimps or crabs in the creek when he moved to Zhuwei when he was 16 years old, but now many parts of the river are covered by cement slabs. Under the cement covering is stinky water polluted by pig farm wastewater, household wastewater and pedestrians’ trash.
Center director Chu Nan-shyan (朱楠賢) said that the center, in cooperation with civic NGOs, hopes the exhibition can help promote environmental education by triggering visitors to think about our living environment through three related aspects — people and water, people and the land, and people and people.