The Kaohsiung Water Resources Bureau plans to spend NT$60 million (US$1.99 million) on a wastewater treatment and water recycling system on the Pratas Island (Dongsha Island, 東沙島) to preserve marine resources and protect the environment, a city official said on Sunday.
The islands, located 450km south of Kaohsiung in the South China Sea, are part of the Dongsha Atoll National Park, Taiwan’s first ocean-based national park, which was established in January 2007.
The islands are under the jurisdiction of the city government.
Pratas Island, 25km in diameter, is rich in coral reefs and ecological resources, and the waters around it are home to a wide variety of marine life, bureau Chief Engineer Liang Jin-yuan (梁錦淵) said.
Construction and Planning Agency officials and the bureau decided to draw up a plan to significantly reduce marine pollution from wastewater after inspecting wastewater treatment facilities on the island, Liang said.
There are 30 buildings and 200 people living on the island, but only the administrative office is equipped with wastewater treatment and water recycling facilities, Liang said.
Water used by people in the other buildings seeps into the soil before flowing into the ocean, he said.
Because untreated wastewater can affect the ecology of coral communities, the bureau plans to build a wastewater treatment system to treat about 50 to 70 cubic meters of water a day, which could then be reused for irrigation and to wash vehicles, Liang said.
The project is estimated to cost about NT$60 million and the bureau plans to ask for funds from the central government as part of its infrastructure development plan, with work expected to start next year, he said.
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