Macau is known as its heritage buildings in the world and the gaming industry. Besides its entertainment and culture, this tiny place is little known for its excellent work in environmental protection. A few years ago, the Central Television Station initiated an event called “Beautiful China, Wetland Walk” and launched an online voting. In this event, Macau got over one million votes. Along with the experts’ panel, Macau got a place in the Top Ten Wetland of China. Two major wetlands in Macau are inhabited by a variety of migrant birds and plants, in addition to the famous endangered Plataea minor. Local renowned environmentalist Junming Chan pointed that it is not easy to develop the city while maintaining the wetlands, and the adjunct factories may be a danger. He thinks that Macau is an important midway for those migrant birds and suggested that the Government should promote wetland ecological tourism. It can not only generate the economic benefits, but also promote the beauty and advantages of wetlands.
There are two major wetlands in Macau, including Baia de Nossa Senhora da Esperança Wetland Ecological Zone and Cotai Wetland Ecological Protection Zone. The previous one is a manmade wetland managed by the Civilian Affairs Department while the latter one is a natural wetland managed by the Environmental Protection Bureau. The Baia de Nossa Senhora da Esperança Wetland Ecological Zone is located in the west of Museu da Taipa Natatorium. Within the zone, there are various kinds of leisure facilities. There are almost 30 kinds of birds resting here and fireflies can be spotted in the reed marsh. Firefly is the criteria of ecological standard and its appearance symbolizes that the wetland is healthy.
The Cotai Wetland Ecological Protection Zone is located near the Cotai Lotus Bridge and it’s composed of Zone One and Zone Two. The first one is restricted while Zone Two is open to the public. After the census, the Government found that there are 306 kinds of advanced plants, 310 kinds of insects, 35 kinds of fish, 5 kinds of amphibians, 17 kinds of reptiles, 8 kinds of mammals and 162 kinds of birds including the rare Plataea minor.
Mr. Junming Chan, president of Macau Environmental Protection Student Association, who has been caring for Macau’s environmental protection for years, expressed that it is not easy to retain a wetland for birds in this rapid developing city. Beside the dense casinos, there is a wetland. No place in the world, except Macau, can deliver such a scene. He said that in the past 5-6 years, the wetland became expanding and maintains a steady development, but certain roads are too close to the sewage outlet of the sewage plant and other factories, thus resulting in hidden dangers.
Chan expressed that as an important midway for the migrant birds, Macau shall shoulder the responsibility to protect the migrant birds. The rising number of Plataea minor in the world is partly contributed by Macau’s efforts in protecting the wetlands. The current number of Plataea minor in the world is over 1,800, among which about 60-70 will fly to Macau. It is indeed a rather high percentage.
He thinks people tend to have a stereotype that wetlands are just for greenery and neglect its potential economic benefits. The Government paneled the Zone One in Cotai Wetland Ecological Protection Zone , so people have little knowledge of the wetland functions and will misunderstand that it is useless for the social development. In fact, the Government can fully unleash the economic effects of the ecological protection by planning the tourist projects theme on ecology. Such projects can introduce the features, functions and values of the wetlands to local citizens and tourists so that more people can get to know the advantages and beauty of the wetlands. It can develop Macau’s tourism diversity.