An Indonesian factory worker who has been organizing beach cleanups around Taiwan for almost three years says everyone needs to help keep the nation’s beaches clean.
“We must love the environment because we humans need the Earth to live,” Maya Sari, 36, said yesterday as she and 15 others picked up trash at Laomei Green Reef (老梅綠石槽) beach in New Taipei City.
“The planet does not need humans to survive, but we need it to survive,” she said. “The Earth is our home, so we need to take care of it.”
Maya said that since she arrived in Taiwan almost three years ago, she has lost count of the number of cleanup events she has either organized or joined, but she estimated it to be about 50.
There is so much garbage on the Laomei beach on Fuguei Cape (富貴角) that it is “a never-ending problem” she said, adding that it was one site cleanup teams visited frequently.
“We came here four times in January, but the trash seems to be a never-ending problem,” she said as she and other volunteers gathered up piles of plastic bottles, fishing nets, polystyrene foam, food packaging and abandoned fishing gear such as floats and fishing lines.
However, beach cleanups are not a newfound passion for her.
She used to volunteer for cleanups in her hometown of Indramayu in West Java Province.
The efforts of everyone are needed to keep the environment clean and ensure a better future for younger generations, she said.
Taiwanese volunteer Kao Kuang-tsang (高廣蒼) said he has been participating in Maya’s beach cleanups since last year.
“I was touched by Maya’s passion to help clean and collect rubbish in Taiwan,” he said.
“If migrant workers can be so committed to keeping our country clean, we should show some appreciation,” Kao added.
About 20 people usually show up when Maya organizes a cleanup and they collect about 300kg of trash each time, he said.
Indonesian migrant worker Elys Muda, another regular volunteer, said people from all walks of life take part in the cleanups.
One first-time volunteer yesterday was British national Matt Garbutt, who lives in Taipei.
He said he was drawn to the cleanup because he was concerned about the heavy use of plastics in Taiwan’s urban areas.
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