Wed, Dec 12, 2018 - Page 12 News List

A Taiwan First: The Guidebook of Marine Debris goes online

Staff writer

Citibank Taiwan head of government affairs and country corporate affairs April Pan, right, and Environmental Protection Administration Bureau of Environmental Inspection Director Lee Chien-yu, left, hold up a map of Taiwan at a news conference announcing the launch of the “Guidebook of Marine Debris” Web site in Taipei on Tuesday.

Photo provided by Citibank Taiwan

In response to the government’s policy to clean up beaches and reduce the use of plastic, Citibank Taiwan Ltd (花旗台灣銀行) is collaborating with the environmental education association “RE-THINK” (重新思考環境教育協會) and the RC Culture and Arts Foundation (RC文化藝術基金會) to launch a “Guidebook of Marine Debris” Web site — the first of its kind in Taiwan — in an attempt to challenge and innovate environmental education.

The “Guidebook of Marine Debris” Web site covers 101 of the most typical kinds of marine waste in Taiwan. Apart from incorporating the popular “Gotcha” design concept, the online guidebook also embodies the three distinctive features of the “O.N.E.” concept — “Original/local creation,” “Nature/on-site collection” and “Education/education through game playing.” Those interested in participating the campaign can visit the “Guidebook of Marine Debris” Web site at oceantrash.rethinktw.org.

Citibank Taiwan head of government affairs and country corporate affairs April Pan (潘玲嬌) says: “In alignment with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal No. 14, ‘Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources,’ Citibank Taiwan joins hands with RE-THINK Environmental Education Association to bring in the younger generation’s creativity and energy into the overall design of the Guidebook of Marine Debris Web site by incorporating the mobile gaming concept that is so popular among young people. Moreover, Citibank is also working in tandem with our own volunteers to organize a beach cleanup on the north coast for Citibank Global Community Day this year, bringing the “O2O” concept — online to offline — into the implementation of corporate social responsibility.”

Taiwan is surrounded by water, and in recent years the ocean pollution caused by plastic drinking straws and other marine waste has drawn great public attention. In addition to the government’s active push for policies to reduce the use of plastic, an equally important task is to awaken the concern of the younger generation and turn the concept of ocean conservation into concrete action.

RE-THINK Environmental Education Association co-founder Jason Huang (黃之揚) says that ocean pollution education should not be limited to beach cleanup campaigns and garbage collection; it should also teach people how and why waste ends up in the ocean so as to come up with precautionary measures and remove the ultimate source of the problem. Hopefully, combining the guidebook and real-life education will enable more students, businesses and the general public to acquire a deeper understanding of marine pollution and to take further steps toward solving the problem.

The Web site was completed over a period of one year, and in addition to the collective efforts of beach cleanup volunteers around Taiwan, the Society of Wilderness (SOW, 荒野保護協會), Hiin Studio (海湧工作室) and One One & One, among other organizations, also contributed to the collaborative effort with the additional assistance of artist Hung Yi-chen (洪亦辰), whose project “100% Polluted Water Popsicles” has been covered by CNN. Huang also says that the launch of the Guidebook Web site includes the three distinctive features referred to as “O.N.E.,” which is short for three main concepts: “Original,” “Nature” and “Education.”

“Original/local creation” refers to the Guidebook of Marine Debris’ design concept, which was derived from the augmented reality smartphone game “Pokemon GO.” It creates a 360-degree photographic representation of individual pieces of local marine waste, reimagined as sea monsters, including additional background information. For instance, the required time for different kinds of waste to decompose and degrade in a natural environment becomes “health points” (HP) for characters, which means that plastic waste monsters have a much higher HP than their paper waste counterparts. Also, just as the monsters in “Pokemon GO,” characters are “location-based” and different kinds of waste appear in different areas. Plastic bottles drifting from China, for example, are more likely to be found on Taiwan’s north coast, as they are often brought by northeast monsoons.

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