Tue, Sep 17, 2013 - Page 4 News List

Art exhibition warns of dangers of plastic waste

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

The Taiwan Environmental Information Association (TEIA) is holding an exhibition of an art installation made out of plastic bottle caps in Taipei’s Mad L exhibition space to remind the public how the environment is being damaged by discarded plastic bottles.

Walking into the exhibition, visitors are greeted with colorful beaded curtains hanging from the ceiling that show a picture of a green sea turtle swimming in a blue ocean, with red coral reefs and seaweed and a picture of a beach with a rainbow in the sky. However, when visitors get close enough, they discover that the curtains are made from thousands of strung-together plastic bottle caps.

The TEIA cooperated with 15 university students and gathered more than 40,000 bottle caps for the exhibition, which opened last weekend.

According to data collected from the association’s beach cleanup events last year, disposable utensils were most often seen along the nation’s coasts, followed by plastic or paper bags, plastic bottles, straws or stirrers and plastic bottle caps.

The association said that at least 2.8 billion plastic bottles are produced in Taiwan every year, but the Environmental Protection Administration’s statistics showed that only about half of these bottle caps were recycled, meaning that about 1.4 billion of them were disposed of inappropriately.

A participant in the project, surnamed Wu (吳), said many marine animals have died after mistaking the caps for food, and that the plastic waste is not biodegradable and will therefore cause severe damage to the marine ecology.

Research conducted by a National Taiwan Ocean University’s Institute of Marine Biology professor has also discovered that about 30 percent of the dead sea turtles found on coasts had plastic waste in their stomach, the association added.

The association said it hopes that visitors can change their habits and reduce their use of disposable plastic bottles.

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