Sunday, November 25, 2007

Taiwan's Humpback Dolphins make it into India's Central Chronicle

An Indian daily newspaper, Central Chronicle, recently ran an article titled Rare dolphin faces extinction on the plight of the Taiwan humpback dolphins. Great to see the issue making the papers in other Asian countries.

The Taiwan humpback dolphins will face further habitat loss with the Hushan Dam reducing the flow of fresh water into the Jhoushuei estuary.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Formosa Plastic Group's Yunlin Steel Mill Needs More Review

The FPG plant at Mailiao, Yunlin

See former Environmental Impact Assessment Committee member Lee Ken-cheng's article titled Formosa Plastic Group's Yunlin Steel Mill Needs More Review for some further insight into the Mailiao and Hushan Dam development issues.

Taking the plight of the Taiwan humpback dolphins abroad - The 17th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals

View of Cape Town, host city to the 17th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals

The unique population of Taiwan humpback dolphins face many threats, amongst these is more industrial development on Taiwan's west coast that will destroy habitat critical to the survival of this species. The Hushan Dam will supply water to these developments. In addition to the development that will result in the destruction of prime dolphin habitat the Hushan Dam will also reduce the flow of fresh water into the Jhoushui estuary which will further degrade this important wetland environment which is critically important to the survival of these unique dolphins and other marine life.

The Society for Marine Mammalogy will be holding the 17th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals from 29 November to 3 December, 2007, in Cape Town, South Africa. Matsu's Fish Conservation Union members will be present. Wild at Heart Legal Defense Association, will have a booth at the conference. Also, FormosaCetus Research and Conservation Group will be doing two presentations on the Taiwan humpback dolphins. In addition to this the steering committee that was established at the Second International Workshop on the Conservation and Research Needs of the Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphins, Sousa chinensis, in the waters of western Taiwan will be meeting to work on the establishment of an international working group of scientific experts whose mandate will be to provide independent advice on ETS humpback dolphin research and conservation.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Kaohsiung's air gets worse

A short piece from yesterday's Taipei Time's Taiwan Quick Take section. See Kaohsiung's air gets worse. The recent poor air quality in the Kaohsiung area largely blamed on existing west coast industry....and the government and developers are planning more.

Monday, November 12, 2007

EPA and supporters celebrate 9th year of green lifestyle

Farmer burning waste

The headline EPA and supporters celebrate 9th year of green lifestyle in today's Taipei Times caught my eye. I had a look and read how the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) and thousands of environmental volunteers in a number of cities and counties yesterday celebrated the EPA's ninth year of its Low-carbon Lifestyle Program.

While I'm all for programs and efforts to reduce carbon levels and applaud and encourage any such effort I couldn't help thinking that this was just another green-washing type drive to lay a smoke screen over the EPA's reluctance to really make a concerted effort to do something concrete to address the issue of Taiwan's carbon emissions problem.

I dread October and November each year because I know that that is the time that countless farmers burn their fields and every piece of garbage and unwanted vegetation they can rake together. For about eight weeks my nose constantly runs, I cough and get headaches. The washing smells like a bonfire and the house gets full of ash. I can't see the buildings just a few hundred meters down the road. I wonder if I'm the only one in Taiwan that feels this way? Why should we put up with this? Burning trash is illegal! This happens openly and what do the authorities do? Nothing, it would seem !

I mentioned this to a friend living in another county. He said that perhaps it was only a problem in my area. I replied saying I didn't think so. In the weeks that followed I travelled the length of the country from Taipei to Kenting. And from the train and bus window I could see fire after fire after fire for weeks on end stretching from north to south along the western coastal plain. I wonder how much carbon is emitted from the this uncontrolled burning? We haven't even got to the factories, and the cars.

The EPA seems set on trying to help pass projects like the Hushan Reservoir to get those west coast development projects off the ground. Sure, money will be made in the short-term but what about the environment and all of creation that has to live, eat, drink and breath the pollution? How much will we have to pay to clean up the mess we are making for a quick buck?

Come on EPA. Let's get real and really do something about Taiwan's carbon emissions and do your bit in creating a real Low-carbon Lifestyle program for all of Taiwan.

Taipower through the haze, Wuchi, Taichung

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Green Party Taiwan to enter the legislative elections

The Green Party Taiwan (GPT) announced yesterday that it has named five candidates for January's legislative elections.

See today's Taipei Times for the story.

The 2007 Taipei Birdfair

Wild at Heart stand

The annual Taipei Birdfair took place over the weekend in Guandu, Taipei. The event was hosted by the Wild Bird Society of Taipei. Taiwan's various bird societies were well represented. Other organisations and groups were also present. These included Wild at Heart Legal Defense Association, Taiwan Endemic Species Research Institute, and Shei-Pa National Park amongst others.

2007 Taipei Birdfair

Several foreign birding groups and NGOs were also present. These included the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines; Chengdu Bird Watching Society, China; Hong Kong Bird Watching Society; Wild Bird Society of Japan; Tourism & Wildlife Society of India; BOCA, Australia; Bird Conservation Society of Thailand; and The Ocean Conservancy, California, USA.

Wild at Heart Legal Defense Association and the Wild Bird Society of Yunlin, both members of the Taiwan National Coalition against the Hushan Dam and Matsu's Fish Conservation Union, had stands presenting the Hushan Dam - Fairy Pitta issue as well as the plight of the Taiwan humpback dolphins.

Wild Bird Society of Yunlin stand.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Taipei Birdfair

Hushan Dam construction site

If you're in the Taipei area this weekend (3-4 November, 08:00-17:00) Wild at Heart Legal Defense Association and the Wild Bird Society of Yunlin will be at the 2007 Taipei Birdfair in the Guandu Nature Park* telling visitors about the Hushan Dam issue, the Taiwan humpback dolphins, and other environmental issues.

*There will be shuttle buses running from the Guandu MRT Station. There will also be stands at the Zhishan Cultural and Ecological Garden but the main events will be at Guandu.