On Valentine's Day yesterday, hundreds of foreign residents gathered at National Taiwan Normal University's Linkou (林口) campus in Taipei County to celebrate their love for the Earth by planting seedlings of trees and leaving their roots in Taiwan.
The event, titled "Leave Your Roots in Taiwan," was hosted by the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) to raise awareness of the strategy of combating global warming by offsetting one's carbon footprint, as well as to encourage foreign residents to see Taiwan as their "home away from home" and cherish its resources, EPA Minister Winston Dang (
The term "carbon footprint" refers to the amount of carbon emissions someone or something causes during a given time. For example, traveling 20km in Taipei in a mid-sized sedan emits 4.43kg of carbon dioxide.
PHOTO: CHENG SHU-TING, TAIPEI TIMES
"If you drive a Toyota Prius, you may need to plant 15 mahogany trees to offset the carbon you have emitted by driving 15,000km," Dang said.
Emissions of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, is considered to be one of the main culprits behind global warming, a climate phenomenon that is reportedly worsening every year -- the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has estimated that global warming will increase global temperatures by 1.1oC to 6.4oC this century and result in sea levels rising by 18cm to 59cm, Dang said.
"Planting trees on Valentine's Day, a day when love is celebrated, is a gesture to show the government's determination to fight global warming, and it urges all people to love planet Earth," Dang said.
"The Executive Yuan recently passed a NT$7.18 billion [US$225 million] budget to plant 20,000 hectares of trees nationwide within the next five years. That's the equivalent of 800 Da-an Forest Parks, and will bring the island's forest coverage to 59.09 percent," the minister said.
In addition to fighting deforestation, which is responsible for 2 billion tonnes of carbon emissions per year, the EPA aims to take even more aggressive steps to control greenhouse gas emissions. These include reducing emission allowances for power plants and factories, which contribute 61 percent and 21 percent of the nation's total emissions, Dang said.
Among the hundreds of foreign participants who signed up for yesterday's tree planting, many expressed concern about the environment and said they saw fighting climate change as a top international priority.
"I am an environmentalist myself; if something isn't `green,' I don't do it -- I always bring my own chopsticks to restaurants, and I sort the garbage to such an extent in my community that many of the garbage collectors recognize me," said Abdoulie Jallow, a student from Gambia who came to Taiwan to study Chinese.
"Sustainable development is the only way to go. The environment doesn't belong to us; we need to preserve it so that we can pass it down to future generations," Jallow said.
Edward Foord, a former environmental consultant who came to Taiwan to study Chinese, said: "Taiwan's emphasis for the environment is promising. People are starting to realize that they have to be more responsible."
Food delivery provider Foodpanda had 564 consumer disputes from January to last month and failed to attend many mediation sessions with local governments nationwide, the Executive Yuan’s Consumer Protection Committee said. In a news release earlier this month, the committee said that it investigated consumer complaints and mediations for Foodpanda and rival Uber Eats during the period, when the number of delivery orders jumped due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Uber Eats had 80 consumer disputes, the committee said. Of Foodpanda’s consumer disputes, 368 resulted from delivery drivers canceling orders after customers could not be reached, 108 were related to the quality or quantity
PILLAGING PENGHU: A 7,539-tonne Chinese ship found mining sand in the Formosa Banks area was escorted by several CGA ships to a Kaohsiung harbor The Coast Guard Administration (CGA) yesterday announced that it had dispatched ships to intercept Chinese dredging vessels operating in the nation’s territorial waters near Penghu and detained 10 crew members, who were transported to Kaohsiung. A coast guard patrol discovered more than 20 dredging vessels in an area known as the Formosa Banks, 46 nautical miles (85km) southwest of Penghu County’s Cimei islet (七美) at about 5am on Wednesday. The agency responded by dispatching two patrol boats, the 3,000-tonne Kaohsiung and the 500-tonne Penghu, along with two frigates, to intercept the Chinese vessels, while an airborne observation unit was used to monitor
‘HONEYMOON’ IS OVER: A political science professor said that the Tsai administration’s popularity peaked after it successfully contained COVID-19, but is waning President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) and Premier Su Tseng-chang’s (蘇貞昌) approval ratings fell significantly this month in the wake of the government’s handling of the distribution of relief funds and stimulus coupons to people and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, a poll released yesterday by the New Power Party (NPP) showed. The poll showed that 68 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with Tsai’s performance, down 8.9 percentage points from last month, while 21 percent said they disapproved of her performance. Her approval among respondents aged 20 to 29 fell 14.7 percentage points, the largest decrease when compared with other age
Passengers arriving at Taoyuan International Airport will find that most entrances to both terminals have been sealed off as part of its COVID-19 prevention efforts. Follow the signs and directions posted on the doors to find the nearest entry point. The airport has installed infrared cameras and thermometer guns at all open entrances, and all persons with a temperature of over 37.5 degrees Celsius are prohibited from entering the terminal. In addition, staff will take the temperature of those checking in to their flights in advance at Airport MRT stations A1 and A3. In accordance with the Centers of Disease