Danshui River's pollution on the decline: EPA

12/02/2008 04:08 PM
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Taipei, Dec. 2 (CNA) The Executive Yuan's EnvironmentalProtection Administration (EPA) said Tuesday that efforts to clean upthe Danshui River have delivered tangible improvements, including anincrease in marine life in the river.

"The length of the Danshui River that is polluted has decreasedby 54.6 kilometers, ”said EPA Deputy Minister Chang Tzi-chin at apress conference. "The water quality is improving rapidly. The numberof fish have also greatly increased.”

Chang said that through the joint efforts of the local andcentral governments, only 4.5 percent of the full length of the riverwas polluted at the end of October, down from 21.4 percent of theriver being polluted in 2002.

“We are cleaning up the river by dredging mud from the river'sfloor and by posting guards to patrol it to prevent people fromdumping waste there," Chang said.

One positive consequence of the cleanup efforts has been therevitalization of marine life. According to EPA data, the number ofspecies of fish that can be found now has increased, a developmentconfirmed by the observations of local residents.

"The cleanup of the river has made great strides. I have receivedphone calls from people who live near the river who told me thenumber of fish has increased, " Chang said.

He also pointed to progress made in eliminating the river's foulsmell that tarnished any visit to the river's banks.

"The stench was especially obvious when the tide retreated. Now,as the river is being cleaned up, the smell is gone," Chang said.

Improving the Danshui River entails more, however, than simplycleaning its waters. It also includes the development ofinfrastructure such as planting trees along the river and buildingbicycle paths, the EPA official stressed.

The 159-kilometer Danshui River originates on Pintien Mountain inHsinchu County and winds its way through Hsinchu County, TaoyuanCounty, Taipei City and Taipei County before emptying into the TaiwanStrait.

(By Andrew Lee)enditem/ls

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