More than 200 preschool children, foreign missionaries, teenage scouts and members from 13 civic groups rolled up their sleeves to help clean Taipei Railway Station yesterday afternoon ahead of the 10th annual “Clean Up the World” (CUW) campaign in Taiwan.
CUW is a global campaign held annually on the third weekend of September, involving more than 40 million people from more than 125 countries.
The original campaign was started by Australian Ian Kierman. He saw so much trash floating on the ocean during a round-the-world sailing trip that he initiated the “Clean Up Australia” campaign. The project was eventually supported and promoted by the UN Environment Program in 1993.
Hsu Chung-jen (徐重仁), chairman of the The Good Neighbor Foundation, the organizer of the campaign in Taiwan, said that as tourism had become increasingly important to Taiwan in the past two years, improving the quality of infrastructure and services to give a good impression to foreign travelers had become imperative.
As railway stations are the doors to every township and county, this year the campaign will first focus on cleaning up 18 major stations across the country, Cheng said.
Taiwan Railway Administration Director-General Frank C.K. Fan (范植谷) said the office sometimes received complaints from passengers about unsanitary restrooms on trains or at stations, and that it is currently discussing how to deal with this problem by reassigning personnel.
Mr and Mrs Wheatly, a couple from the US who are doing missionary work in Taiwan, said that Taiwan is very beautiful and that they have always encouraged the missionaries to help keep it and the world clean.
They also agreed that it was a good idea for individuals to begin in various spots, gradually expanding to link all the areas together.
The foundation said more than 300,000 people have participated in the past 10 years and cleaned up about 20,000 large bags of trash. This year they hope more than 30,000 participants will help clean up the urban areas.
This year’s clean up will take place on Sept. 17.