Taipei, June 8 (CNA) The first map to ecologically chart Taiwan's coastal areas will be completed by next January to help address the public's lack of marine knowledge, local environmental groups announced Friday at an event to mark World Oceans Day.
The mapping will require hundreds of people from marine conservation groups, community colleges and the academic world, said the Taiwan Environmental Information Association, which is coordinating the mapping activities.
"It would mark a significant step in environmental education because the public can contribute to the project," said Chen Jui-pin, secretary-general of the association.
The participants will need to collect historic data on the country's coastline, conduct field investigations and record details of the current ecological systems, Chen said.
The idea for an ecological map came after a recent survey looked into the public's knowledge of marine-related subjects and found most people scored poorly, according to Chen.
Results of the survey on 600 interviewees showed that students and members of the general public scored respective averages of 51 and 52 out of 100 points.
For instance, only some 30 percent of pollees correctly identified the outlying Dongsha Atoll National Park as Taiwan's first national park dedicated to marine life, while 62 percent thought it was the Kenting National Park in southern Taiwan.
The low score might be attributed to people's unfamiliarity with the ocean, Chen said, pointing out that even though 95 percent of the respondents said they liked the sea, around half of them admitted to barely going to the beach.
"We need to first make people more familiar with the environment, then they will have the ability to take action to protect it," said Environmental Minister Stephen Shen, who also attended the event.
(By Lee Hsin-Yin)