Environmentalists call for protection of Taoyuan reef

[Taiwan] About 100 people yesterday gathered near the Presidential Office in Taipei, calling for the government to protect coastal algal reefs that could be endangered by the planned construction of a natural gas processing plant in Taoyuan’s Datan District (大潭).

State-owned CPC Corp, Taiwan (CPC) plans to build its third natural gas processing plant on reclaimed land in Taoyuan’s Kuanyin Industrial Park (觀音工業區) next to the reefs.

The plan is to be discussed in an upcoming environmental impact assessment meeting.

The protest was organized by environmentalists who said they have been concerned about the reefs for many years.

Dozens of people held up posters and banners with slogans such as “Rescue the national treasure: algal reefs” and “President Hsiao Ing (小英), save the algal reefs,” using a nickname for President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), and chanted “Don’t say goodbye to the Datan algal reef” in front of National Taiwan University Hospital Mass Rapid Transit Station.

The reefs spread about 27km along the coastline, one of the largest in the world, Taoyuan Local Union director-general Pan Chong-cheng (潘忠政) said, adding that marine academics consider it an important asset not only for Taiwan, but for the world.

However, he said that about 2.5km of the reef, covering about 77 hectares, could be destroyed in the initial stage of the plant’s construction, and up to 200 hectares might be destroyed by its completion.

Pan said CPC already damaged the reef when it laid subsurface pipes in 2007.

Due to the effort of marine researchers and environmentalists, a section was designated as a wildlife reserve in 2014, Pan added.
However, activists are calling for further protections by designating the reef a natural landscape that would be protected under the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act (文化資產保存法).

Children at the protest staged a short play in which they acted as fish and marine animals living near the reef that were threatened by an excavator and heavy machinery that are constructing the plant, played by other children.

Pan said Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦) and Tsai have visited the reefs and swore to protect the environment.

A local resident, surnamed Peng (澎), said if the Tatan Power Plant (大潭電廠) expands according to plan — to increase its power supply — it would become the largest thermal power plant in the world, and with CPC’s natural gas processing plant, the environment would surely degenerate.

At the end of the rally, Pan led a group to the Presidential Office to hand their petition to officials.

 

Photo: Taoyuan’s Datan District environmental group yesterday protests in front of the Presidential Office in Taipei against a planned natural gas project that they say could harm algal reefs.

View original article at: Environmentalists call for protection of Taoyuan reef

 

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