Taipei, May 28 (CNA) A legislator called on the government Friday for new regulations to improve water safety amid the high season for water games and activities -- which is also the high season for deaths by drowning.
During a national affairs forum at the Legislative Yuan, Kuomintang (KMT) Legislator Chao Li-yun said that although Department of Health statistics show the number of deaths from drowning decreased from around 600 in 2005 to 500 in 2008, the problem was still significant.
In 2005 the Tourism Bureau promulgated regulations governing water recreation activities with the aim of ensuring public safety, Chao said, but newly developed safety devices and floatation devices still have not been included in the water activity management system.
Moreover, a failure to integrate and coordinate government agencies that manage water recreation activities also poses a safety risk to water sports participants, Chao added. Currently, water-related sports and recreation are under the authority of the Tourism Bureau, the Fishery Agency, the Coast Guard Administration, the Environmental Protection Administration and various local government agencies, Chao noted.
Chao said the fact the Tourism Bureau recently prioritized five coastal areas to promote marine tourism in Taiwan demonstrated the government sees potential in turning marine resources into tourist attractions.
But more needs to be done to better protect the safety of water activities participants, Chao said, adding that she has proposed that the Ministry of Transportation and Communications study the distribution of power in managing these activities and that the Executive Yuan set up mechanisms to coordinate related authorities.
(By Ho Meng-kuei and Y.L. Kao)