The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) yesterday said it is doing more to promote recycling and waste reduction during the annual Dajia Matsu pilgrimage (大甲媽祖遶境) that began last night.
The pilgrimage set off from Jenn Lann Temple (鎮瀾宮) in Greater Taichung at 11pm and is set to pass through Changhua and Yunlin counties on its way to Fengtien Temple (新港鄉奉天宮) in Chiayi County’s Singang Township (新港), before heading back north on its return to Jenn Lann.
Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims and Matsu devotees are expected to take part in all or part of the nine-day journey.
The environmental agency said it is cooperating for the seventh year with the organizers of the pilgrimage to promote the use of reusable food containers and utensils, and to help pilgrims sort and dispose of their recyclable waste.
It has set up several recycling promotion stands along the route.
Environmental Protection Administration Minister Wei Kuo-yen (魏國彥) said that in addition to collecting recyclables, gathering table scraps is also important because they can be used as animal feed, fertilizer or even biomass energy to generate electricity.
Thanks to the efforts of local governments’ environmental protections bureaus to promote the sorting of recyclables, the amount of garbage generated by the pilgrimage has been reduced in recent years, Wei said.
However, more still needs to be done to promote the collection and recycling of food scraps, he said. Working with waste incinerators to effectively turn such scraps into biomass energy is a goal of the agency, he said.
The EPA has worked with local temples along the pilgrimage route, so that worshippers can exchange their collected plastic waste, paper or batteries for cleaning products, reusable food containers or utensils.
The agency also urged pilgrims and other worshippers to avoid burning paper money.
It said pilgrims should bring their own toiletries and towels, as well as water bottles and food containers, to help reduce unnecessary waste.