||The west coast of Taiwan is densely populated with frequently activities for industrial and economic developments. In recent years, many coastal development plans have resulted in concerns about the destruction of natural ecological resources and landscapes. Thus it has become the primary issues on how to do the coexistence of the economic development and environmental protection at the same time. The government has attempted to establish a marine protect area, because the Chinese White Dolphin habitat is off in western waters from Miaoli to Tainan. Nevertheless, it is required to assess the changes of environmental condition and marine environmental quality around the area before the establishment of marine protected areas to the site. The present study was initiated to assess the monitoring effectiveness of marine environmental quality in western Taiwan by collecting and surveying the long term monitoring data that were published under the government reports and documents between the years of 2001 to 2010. The monitoring data included river water, marine water and sediment, and ecological resource survey that were carried out to the sites from Chiayi to Kaohsiung. |
The methods for evaluating the environmental quality included the use of geographic information system (GIS) for the biological distribution and linear regression analysis for the trend monitoring of chemical contaminants and physical environmental factors. The data were further evaluated for the River Pollution Index (RPI) and the Habitat Suitability Index (HSI) for the overall marine environmental quality of monitoring effectiveness.
The survey results of ten years river water quality monitoring showed that rivers of Erren、Beigang、Agongdian had RPI values ranged between 5.96 to 6.25. These rivers were heavily polluted with low concentrations oxygen and higher concentrations of ammonia nitrogen, total phosphorus and coliform than the EPA limits. The relationship of RPI and HSI as well as physical、chemical and other indicators obtained from the monitoring displayed strongly beyond the EPA Established Terrestrial Water Quality Standards. These are attributed to the causes of heavy industrial wastewater discharges as well the domestic wastewater from the surrounding towns poured into the ocean.
In the marine water monitoring survey, the sampling sites were differed without a consistent sampling scheme. The offshore sites were sampled greatly in distance up to four knots that has caused the dilution problem through ocean currents and difficulties for the comparison of data results collected in different time. Otherwise, the results were mostly within the guidelines of limit by the EPA. The sediment monitoring results were mostly within the sediment limit with the exception of Kaohsiung harbor which had serious high lead, copper and zinc concentrations.
In the biological survey, the results showed that abundance and species were not evenly distributed with non-comprehensive trends related to the environmental condition or changes. These indicated that biological monitoring survey displayed less important than physical and chemical monitoring for the assessment of man-made pollution or environmental impact from the industrial activities. The ineffectiveness of biological monitoring by surveying the number of species and types which couldn’t render the impact on marine environment should require a proper bio-indicator.
Overall, the relevant authorities should implement an integrated monitoring program with consistent monitoring sampling scheme and monitoring methods. The survey data should be in place at one competent authority instead of scattering in different departments. This means that it is required to establish a complete monitoring database with environmental quality monitoring mechanisms to ensure the quality of the marine environment and to achieve the effectiveness of the marine environmental management purposes.