04 slash rural life adapted to the environment ── friendly connection and local innovation of Dongshi in Chiayi

Published: 2024-05-18 Author: mysheen
Last Updated: 2024/05/18, 04 slash rural life adapted to the environment ── friendly connection and local innovation of Dongshi in Chiayi


(Zhuang Xiaoping / tr. by Phil Newell)

Dongshi Township, located on the coast of Jiannan, is now famous for its aquaculture fisheries and is a large producing area for domestic supply of oysters. In fact, in the 1950s and 1970s, Dongshi Township was an important producing area for exporting white asparagus. At one time, the planting area reached 1500 hectares, and there were 21 asparagus receiving stations in the village, and white asparagus has almost become the economic mainstay of many households in Dongshi Township. At that time, the grand occasion even allowed the Dongshi Rural Peasants' Association to build a new office building, which gave it the nickname "asparagus Building."

It is a pity that in the late 1970s, the domestic asparagus processing plant left because it was defeated by the high labor cost, which in turn led to the shrinkage of the asparagus planting industry in Dongshi Township and the transfer of employment to the manufacturing and aquaculture fisheries. Only after maintaining a short period of prosperity, there was a development crisis. After Typhoon Wayne hit in 1975, some coastal settlements began to flood frequently, coupled with the development suction of neighboring towns, the population of Dongshi Township continued to outflow. In 1978, Dongshi Township had a population of 33549, but in 108, there were only 24529, with a loss of nearly 30%. It became a lonely town in the singer Wu Bai's song, "the road is covered, the street lamp falls, there is no one, the shaving shop is empty, and the mouth of the Great Temple is empty."

Dongshi's quiet residential roadway (Photo: Ke Yazhi) Natural disasters and man-made disasters fertile land becomes a watery country from time to time

In the past, the fertile land that was taken care of became fish ponds, while some of the uncared for wasteland became saline-alkali land due to subsidence and seawater intrusion. At present, the area of land-farmed fish ponds in Dongshi Township is 2,000 hectares, which is wider than that of white asparagus in its heyday.

The crisis caused by stratum subsidence is not only the limitation of industrial development, but also the danger of flooding in case of heavy rain. In 1998, the Morakot disaster and the 823 flood in 108, torrential rain poured into the central and southern part of the country. Dongshi Township is located in the lower reaches of Puzi River, coastal Zhangtan Village, Tai Tsai Village and other settlements. Wu Shufang, director-general of the Chiayi County Rural Sustainable Development Association, which has been promoting community building for years, observed that the cause of the disaster was not only instantaneous heavy rainfall, but also man-made disasters.

The stratum sinks into a prison and everyone besieges the embankment for self-protection.

Hebaoyu Dapai, located on the south side of Puzi River, passes through strata such as Zhangtan Village in Dongshi Township. Sometimes as soon as the torrential rain comes, the amount of water in the upstream is rushed to the downstream, and the water is trapped in the settlement by the Taiwan 17 line, which is higher than the roadbed. Although local governments have frequently installed flood detention ponds and pumps to improve the flooding situation, the residents are really afraid, and many people choose to provide relief on their own. Residents will use sand bags to fence embankments between the village and the village, raise the roadbed, or heighten the protective fence of the ditch, or even close the village drainage gates to prevent water from flooding into the settlement.

During the 823 flood in 2016, many documents and property in the office of Chiayi County Rural Sustainable Development Association were soaked in water. (photo courtesy of Wu Shufang)

In the long run, due to the lack of overall spatial planning, the water storage area of the whole district has been reduced. Wu Shufang says that if it is not flooded now, it will be 100 centimeters as soon as it is flooded, for fear that one day the dike can't stand the water pressure and collapse. "if one day, the levee is broken, and if the water level is usually low, then all of them will be flooded. In fact, it will be fine. But if the water is turned off to such a high level, no one will be able to escape once the dike breaks. Let's see whose ancestors and parents are more effective!".

Walking in Tai Tsai Village, you can deeply feel the national dike movement mentioned by Wu Shufang. For example, there will be a sudden uplift in the middle of the road, a walk will accidentally overlook the residents' garden, a walk on the roadbed will return to normal, and the line of sight is level with the residents' fence. Locals joke that driving in a settlement is like riding a roller coaster.

In order to prevent water from flooding into their homes, in addition to raising the road as an embankment, plastic rafts can be seen near the walls of many households. even important electrical appliances in the home will be placed directly on the raft. if the water is flooded into the house, the goods will rise with the water level, minus the painstaking efforts of the elderly to carry high items frequently.