Coral reefs around Taiwan are still under threat, Greenpeace said yesterday, urging the government to act more aggressively on the matter.
Greenpeace last year launched a project to document changes to reefs.
Data compiled over the past six months showed that 60 percent of the coral reefs being monitored in Taiwan are dying due to continuous bleaching, as was observed last summer, project director Chiu Tsung-jung (邱聰榮) said.
Photo courtesy of Greenpeace Taiwan via CNA
Bleaching last year, which was the worst since Taiwan began keeping records in the 1980s, was due to global warming and a lack of typhoons, Chiu said.
The reefs being monitored seem not to have recovered from last year and are covered in algae, which indicates death, he said.
The reefs are in areas where the worst bleaching occurred last year, including Siaoliouciou Island (小琉球) and the Kenting (墾丁) area in Pingtung County, and Taitung County’s Green Island (綠島).
The optimal temperature for coral growth is 20°C to 28°C, while bleaching occurs below 18°C or above 30°C, experts say.
The Greenpeace project found that the temperatures of the water in the monitored areas was 30°C to 31°C in general, Chiu said.
The government must set stricter carbon reduction targets, which will help control ocean temperatures and preserve corals reefs, he said.
Extensive research on Taiwan’s coral reefs will also be required to devise a more effective protection plan, Chiu said.
Fan Tung-yung (樊同雲), a coral reef researcher at the National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium, said that the central and local governments must take aggressive action to stop the bleaching.
“There should be more marine conservation areas, particularly near Siaoliouciou Island,” Fan said.
Hsu Chia-chuan (許家銓), a diving coach on Green Island who participated in the reef monitoring program, said he was saddened by the condition of Taiwan’s reefs.
“I was in tears when I saw the bleached coral reefs,” Hsu said. “I felt so helpless.”
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says that coral reefs worldwide are likely to decline by 70 to 90 percent if the global average surface temperature increases by 1.5°C above pre-industrial times, and they would all be lost if it rises by 2°C.
‘FAILED TACTICS’: A lawmaker said Beijing’s actions in Hong Kong and Taiwan’s success at boosting its ties internationally have boosted identification as Taiwanese Self-identification as “Taiwanese and Chinese,” or solely as “Chinese,” has dropped to record lows, while 63.3 percent of the public regard themselves as Taiwanese, a survey released on Tuesday by National Chengchi University’s Election Study Center showed. Respondents identifying as Taiwanese and Chinese dropped to 31.4 percent, while those identifying solely as Chinese fell to 2.7 percent, the survey showed. The results reflect changes in attitudes since 1994 among Taiwanese toward independence and unification with China, as well as self-identification trends since 1992, commenters said. Support for independence was 25.8 percent, while about 5 percent of respondents said that they want the nation
ONLY EXCEPTIONS: The mayors of the two largest cities voiced concerns over hidden cases, while all other local governments are to follow eased CECC guidelines All local governments, with the exception of Taipei and New Taipei City, are to allow dine-in services at restaurants after the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Friday announced that it would on Tuesday lower a nationwide COVID-19 alert to level 2. The center on July 8 allowed the resumption of dining at restaurants nationwide — despite keeping the alert level at 3. At the time, this prompted all cities and counties, except Penghu Country, to keep local dine-in bans in place. Following Friday’s CECC announcement that COVID-19 prevention measures would be further relaxed, the Taipei and New Taipei City governments
‘NOT IMPOSSIBLE’: Acceptance to the UN would end the nation’s troubles, but it would be impossible to achieve without US backing, Legislative Speaker You Si-kun said The US might recognize Taiwan if war breaks out in the Taiwan Strait, Legislative Speaker You Si-kun (游錫堃) said yesterday while discussing politics with former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁). Speaking on Chen’s program on Smile Radio, You reminisced about his agrarian childhood, studies, the founding of the Democratic Progressive Party in 1986 and his eight years as Yilan County commissioner. Chen’s appointment of You as premier in February 2002 marked several firsts, as he was Taiwan’s youngest premier, as well as the first from a farming background and first democratically elected county leader to hold the office. Asked to share his views on
‘STILL UNDER CONTROL’: The center also reported the first fatality involving the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, a woman in her 70s who died on Wednesday The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported 30 domestic COVID-19 cases, three imported cases and four deaths. Of the local cases, 15 were men and 15 were women, with the onset of symptoms reported between Saturday and Wednesday, the center said. Taipei and New Taipei City recorded 11 cases each, Taoyuan had seven cases and Hsinchu City had one, it said. Twenty-four of the local cases had known sources of infection, five had unclear links with confirmed cases and one was under investigation, it said. Despite the relatively high number of cases yesterday, the COVID-19 situation “is still under control,” Minister of Health