Convenience store chain 7-Eleven on Monday announced that starting from Sept. 11, it would stop providing plastic straws. This attempt to help conserve the environment and protect marine wildlife deserves praise, but corporations and individuals can do much more to further the cause.
The company said that it would provide plastic cup lids that can be drunk from directly, while offering paper alternatives for drinks that require a straw, such as slushies or bubble tea. However, this policy will do little to convince people that the chain is serious about reducing plastic pollution.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Alicia Wang (王育敏) during a question-and-answer session in May with Environmental Protection Administration Minister Chang Tzi-chin (張子敬) said that producing cup lids, which weigh 2g on average, actually uses more plastic than straws, which weigh 0.6g on average, defeating the purpose of a plastic straw ban.
One solution would be for customers to bring their own containers, allowing them to kick the habit of using plastic straws, lids and cups once and for all.
Convenience store, fast food and beverage chains — which would be saving on overhead — could consider offering more enticing discounts for customers who bring their own reusable containers to encourage more people to adopt the habit.
However, straws are just one type of plastic waste that ends up in the ocean. Many other types end up there as well, such as plastic bags and microbeads.
For the plastic reduction campaign to succeed, people must develop an active awareness of and aversion to using single-use plastics in their everyday life in the same way that many people boycott Chinese-made products to prevent Beijing from gaining hegemony over other nations through its economic power. Once such actions become habitual, they would no longer seem an inconvenience.
Apart from their nonbiodegradable properties, another reason to reduce plastic use that has gained considerable attention in the past few years is to protect marine wildlife.
The Ocean Conservation Administration in March found the carcass of a pregnant, 5.65m-long Cuvier’s beaked whale on a beach in Hualien County. An autopsy showed that it had consumed six plastic bags, among other garbage.
The agency last month said that it had received reports of 71 stranded turtles in the second quarter of this year — 24 more than the average reported in the same period in the previous three years.
Among the 48 turtles on which autopsies were performed, 26 were found to have consumed plastic debris, polystyrene foam or metal, the agency said.
The agency has urged the public to reduce the use of plastics to prevent marine animals from consuming them.
Taiwan is blessed with many species of fascinating marine animals, but many of them have become endangered.
While there is little that individuals can do to preserve their natural habitats in the face of corporate interests, reducing plastic use would have a substantial effect in keeping marine creatures from harm. It is a cause that everyone can champion in their daily lives.
The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) has been giving daily COVID-19 updates for almost four months, and on several occasions when major developments have arisen, the news conferences have attracted large numbers of viewers. The entire nation is anxious about the pandemic, and interest in the latest news has become a part of daily life. Watching the center’s daily news conferences has become something of a national ritual. The pandemic has stabilized within Taiwan due to the admirable efforts of each person living in the nation conducting themselves with the utmost responsibility, and in certain cases making considerable sacrifices within their
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II. In that war’s aftermath, novelist George Orwell produced two prophetic works. The first, Animal Farm, was published in August 1945; the second, Nineteen Eighty-Four, came out in June 1949. Both still ring true and cover a wide range of messages, including even how the mid-sized nation of Taiwan achieved its democracy and why it still maintains an outlier status in a COVID-19 world. With its full planetary scope, WWII left untold millions dead and injured, cities were destroyed and the future path of most nations was altered. New
United States Senator “Kit” Bond (R-MO) was a real leader on Asia policy during his time in Congress. Like most senators, he had a ready one-liner for every occasion. The one I never tired of hearing is “Well, looks like everything has been said. The problem is not everyone has said it.” It’s sort of like with US-China great power competition. There is not much new to say. This is especially true because it’s largely a story of what’s already happened: BRI, Made in China 2025, aggression in the South China Sea, provocations on the Indian border, cyber-hacks, erosion of “one country,
Israel-based geo-intelligence data provider ImageSat International on May 13 released a satellite photograph of the Chinese-controlled Fiery Cross Reef (Yongshu Reef, 永暑礁) on Twitter. The image gave a clear view of Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force Shaanxi KJ-500 airborne early-warning aircraft, KQ-200 anti-submarine maritime patrol aircraft and a suspected Changhe Z-18 anti-submarine helicopter, showing that the PLA has advanced its deployment in the South China Sea. Only last month, China established Xisha District (西沙) on Woody Island (Yongxing Island, 永興島) and Nansha District (南沙) on the reef, both of which fall under Sansha, a prefecture-level city established in