Sun, Jan 06, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Ocean conservation agency to survey marine microplastic

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Ocean Conservation Administration Director-General Huang Hsiang-wen speaks at an event on June 6 last year.

Photo: Huang Yao-cheng, Taipei Times

The Ocean Conservation Administration (OCA) on Friday outlined plans to survey microplastic in marine life and reduce disposable fishing gear after environmentalists called for more studies on marine pollution.

A survey published by the Kuroshio Ocean Education Foundation on Thursday showed that every cubic meter of seawater collected from 51 areas of the nation’s near-shore ocean contained 0.016 to 64.12 microplastic pieces.

Polystyrene floats should be phased out in favor of polyethylene to reduce pollution, the foundation said, adding that the government should commit funds and personnel to long-term investigation of marine pollution.

The agency, which was established by the Ocean Affairs Council in April last year, has taken over marine pollution affairs from the Environmental Protection Administration.

It would seek funds from the Executive Yuan for a four-year project to survey and clean the nation’s marine areas, OCA Director-General Huang Hsiang-wen (黃向文) said, adding that uncrewed underwater vehicles would be sought for the project.

To reduce waste from fishing gear, the agency would consult civic groups and businesses about gear that is less damaging to the environment, Huang said.

It would also investigate whether gear could be recycled into other products, she said.

At a news conference on Thursday last week, Huang said that the agency would set up a training system for marine mammal observers, who would work to mitigate potential impact of offshore wind turbine construction on sealife off the west coast.

The agency would announce an open tender for firms that can offer such training sessions, OCA official Ko Yuan-chuan (柯勇全) said, adding that environmentalists, ecological researchers and fishers who want to change jobs would be encouraged to join the training.

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