Sun, Jun 10, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan races run through millions of disposable cups

WILLING TO CHANGE:A Greenpeace Taiwan poll found that more than 70% of respondents were happy to bring their own drinking bottles to races

By Yang Mien-chieh and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

If the disposable cups used at running events in Taiwan last year were stacked on top of each other, the height would equal 394 Taipei 101 towers, according to estimates by Greenpeace Taiwan.

Last year, Taiwan hosted 784 running events, and if at least 4,000 to 5,000 people attended each event, that would amount to 4 million cups, the organization said.

The problem extends beyond disposable cups, it said.

All marathons give out commemorative items, with the most frequent item being a T-shirt, Greenpeace Taiwan said.

Running events hand out a total of about 3 million T-shirts each year, the organization said, adding that the T-shirt packaging amounts to about 3 million plastic bags and the T-shirts are typically made from synthetic fibers.

Many scientific studies have shown that the microplastics released when washing clothing made with synthetic fibers pose a threat to oceans and the environment, it said.

Nearly 80 percent of respondents said they were aware of the environmental effect of disposable products used at running events, according to a survey conducted by Greenpeace Taiwan, which targeted people who had previously participated in a running event.

More than 70 percent of respondents said they were willing to bring their own water bottles to events due to the environmental effect of disposable items, the survey showed.

Survey participants were informed of the effect of commemorative T-shirts on the environment, with 97 percent saying that they would support organizers who stopped handing out T-shirts or who allowed runners to choose whether they wanted to receive a T-shirt, Greenpeace Taiwan said.

More than 90 percent of respondents supported incorporating environmental concepts into running events and more than 85 percent said that doing so would boost the organizer’s image, it added.

Separately, the Taipei City Government on Thursday said that at this year’s Taipei Marathon, scheduled to take place on Dec. 9, the city government would take several measures to protect the environment.

They include encouraging runners to bring their own water bottles and allowing runners to choose whether they would like to receive a commemorative T-shirt.

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