Mon, Nov 13, 2017 - Page 6 News List

[ LETTER ]

Avoiding garbage ‘waterfalls’

There have been reports lately of how much garbage has accumulated in the scenic Smangus Village (司馬庫斯) in Hsinchu County, such that people are talking of “waterfalls of rubbish.”

This is quite alarming news, but the truth is that garbage strewn on the ground is hardly a rare sight in places of natural beauty in Taiwan, such as Yushan National Park.

Unfortunately, leaving garbage around is one of the bad habits that Taiwanese seem to have cultivated.

During the past two weeks, I was traveling in places of natural beauty in Japan, in Tachiyama and Kamikochi. I noticed that, no matter how many tourists were there, you really do not see much garbage strewn along the way.

There must be several reasons to account for this, including, one would imagine, the success of efforts to educate people on the importance of environmental protection and of teaching children from an early age not to throw rubbish on the floor.

In addition to this, however, there are the restrictions on private car use in the national parks, with certain areas only accessible by car within specified times.

There are also the signs and reminders everywhere that tell people to take their garbage with them when they go home. All of this has an effect.

In the trails around Natadera Temple, for example, there is a small stone statue of a zen monk that makes quite an impact, despite its modest size. The monk is wielding a bamboo broom, as if sweeping fallen leaves on the ground, while behind him there is a sign in Japanese reminding tourists to take with them any rubbish that they bring into the area.

It says that this is the first step in protecting the environment. Take with you any rubbish you bring.

That is the importance of these events: We have to clean up our mountains and our beaches. That is also the way to prevent “waterfalls of rubbish” from accumulating.

Wang Hsi-chang

Taipei

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