Bio-PET bottle launched
The first bio-PET water bottle made from plant-based material was unveiled yesterday, a development its manufacturer said sets the stage for future trends in the industry. Although the newly developed bottle, which contains 30 percent plant extract, is costly and can only be used once, it represents a new trend as it helps reduce carbon emissions, Plastics Industry Development Center president Michael Lin (林志清) said. The center, which launched the bottle in collaboration with local suppliers, donated 100,000 bio-PET bottles of mineral water to Jenn Lann Temple (鎮瀾宮) in Greater Taichung’s Dajia District (大甲) yesterday, in celebration of the Mazu International Festival. The water bottles will be offered to visitors taking part in the festival, which began last week and runs through next month.
Numbers up for Australia
The number of Taiwanese granted working holiday trips to Australia in the second half of last year nearly doubled from 2011, Representative to Australia Katharine Chang (張小月) said. The Australian government issued 17,969 working holiday visas to young Taiwanese adults in the latter half of last year, second only to the UK’s 24,135, statistics from Australian immigration authorities showed, she said. That was a 97.2 percent increase from the same period of 2011, Chang said. Meanwhile, more Taiwanese working holidaygoers in Australia are applying to spend a second year there, she said. As of the end of last year, there were 22,027 Taiwanese on working holidays in Australia, making Taiwan the third-largest source of such travelers after the UK and South Korea.
Earth Hour marked tonight
Taiwan will join the international Earth Hour campaign today by mobilizing public support for worldwide efforts to protect the environment. About 1 million people in Taiwan are expected to participate in the global action of turning off their lights between 8:30pm and 9:30pm. which will save an estimated 100,000kWh of electricity in the nation, said the Society of Wilderness, one of the local organizers. As of yesterday, the society’s campaign page on Facebook had drawn more than 36,000 followers. Last year, about 600,000 people in Taiwan joined the Earth Hour effort, the society said. It said several local entities, such as Taipei 101’s management and local governments, are expected take part in the one-hour lights out campaign.
Drought team boosted
The government upgraded the level of its drought response team yesterday as water levels around the country continued to drop due to scant rainfall this spring. The team is now headed by Vice Minister of Economics Woody Duh (杜紫軍).The upgraded team is scheduled to hold its first meeting on Wednesday to discuss possible measures to fight drought and reduce its impact on the public, officials said. First-phase water rationing has been adopted in Taoyuan, Hsinchu and Miaoli counties, Greater Kaohsiung and New Taipei City’s (新北市) Linkou District (林口), with water pressure reduced at night to conserve resources. Meteorologist Daniel Wu (吳德榮) said the nation often suffers from water shortage in winter and spring because of overreliance on spring rains. He said the nation must address the problem by “conserving existing water resources and developing new ones.”