The nation’s beaches are beset with plastic waste, most of which is food packaging, utensils and food-related items, while decades-long efforts at beach clean-ups have had a limited effect, environmental groups said as they urged the public to reduce their usage of disposable plastic products.
The Society of Wilderness on Friday last week announced the results of its beach clean-up campaigns this year, saying that 89.6 percent of the garbage collected from Taiwan’s beaches were made of plastic, and 72.4 percent were food and beverage containers or eating utensils.
The Top 10 garbage items collected were bottle caps, fishing floats, plastic bags, drinking straws, disposable eating utensils, glass bottles, plastic bottles, disposable cups, food containers and cigarette butts, the society said.
“Except for the fishing floats, all the top 10 items that are littering our beaches are everyday products, suggesting there is a huge problem of the public’s consumption behaviors and garbage management,” society president Lai Jung-hsiao (賴榮孝) said.
The society mobilized nearly 10,000 volunteers to clean up 48 beaches in 15 cities this year and they collected 36 tonnes of trash, Lai said.
There is an average 700g of garbage for every meter of beach, he said.
However, while the 290 beach cleaning events organized by the society over the past 12 years have helped the nation’s beaches become cleaner, there is still 1.8 million tonnes of garbage scattered around Taiwan’s 1,200km coastline, he said.
Ocean pollution caused by tiny bits of plastics is a major concern, as there are 2,090 plastic scraps smaller than a coin on every square meter of beach, amounting to 25 billion plastic bits being strewn about the nation’s coast, he said.
Society of Entrepreneurs and Ecology’s Taiwan branch director Cheng Ying-pin (鄭瑛彬) said the public must reduce its plastic footprint.
“Industry should cut down on its reliance on disposable plastics, replacing them with recyclable materials,” Cheng said.
The groups urged businesses to “de-plasticize” their production: companies should calculate the mass of different plastics that make up their best-selling products to select products with the highest de-plasticizing potential and then reduce the plastics used to produce the products.
They also called on the government to launch survey and monitoring projects to identify the source of ocean trash and devise solutions to cope with the ever-growing problem.
President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration is seeking to join an Indo-Pacific economic framework being planned by the US, a senior official said. The government is paying close attention to the regional economic pact being touted by US President Joe Biden, although too few details have emerged from Washington for Taipei to make specific plans, the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. The US is expected to launch the Indo-Pacific economic framework next month after negotiations with Australia, India and Japan, the official said. The economic initiative is to tackle trade facilitation, standards for the digital economy and technology, supply-chain resiliency and
‘NEW YEAR GIFT’: While the MAC called the song propaganda, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said that it addressed the homesickness of ‘Taiwanese compatriots’ A pro-unification pop song aired on Chinese television earlier this month would only further sour Taiwanese sentiment toward China, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said on Wednesday. The music video for We Sing the Same Song (我們同唱一首歌), which aired on China Central Television, features Chinese artists performing alongside Taiwanese singers Jam Hsiao (蕭敬騰), Ouyang Nana (歐陽娜娜) and Chen Li-nong (陳立農). The lyrics were reportedly written by Taiwanese lyricist Vincent Fang (方文山), known for his collaborations with Jay Chou (周杰倫), to music composed by a Chinese musician. Sung in Chinese and Hoklo (commonly known as Taiwanese), the song is about three Taiwanese siblings who
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