Located off the coast of Yunlin and Chiayi counties, Waisanding Sandbar (外傘頂洲), the country's largest offshore sandbar, is in need of protection because of rapid erosion, the head of National Sun Yat-sen University's College of Marine Sciences warned.
Dean Chen Yang-yi (陳陽益) said research carried out by the university has shown that 1,067 hectares of the island disappeared due to erosion over the past 40 years, a trend that continues to this day. He also said that currents and north-easterly winds were gradually pushing the island southwest out to sea at a rate of about 60m to 70m per year, while also pulling the mass of land apart.
Chen says the island was probably formed by sediment accretion at the mouths of the Chuoshui River (濁水溪), Peikang River (北港溪) and Hsiluo River (西螺溪). However, river dredging and engineering projects by the Japanese government beginning in 1911 greatly reduced the amount of silt flowing into the ocean. Without a resupply of sediment on its east side, the island began to erode and migrate further out to sea.
Chen suggested constructing artificial barriers to block ocean waves and planting more vegetation to help hold the island together. He also recommended filling in depleted areas with earth from Putai Port (布袋港), which has a problem with sediment buildup.
Chiayi County Commissioner Chen Ming-wen (
Yunlin County Commissioner Su Chih-fen (蘇治芬) said on Thursday that the island had already moved to a position off the coast of Chiayi County, making it difficult for Yunlin County to administer it. She urged the central government to help coordinate between the two counties to prevent further erosion.
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