Chinese beverage bottles litter Taiwan’s coastline

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Tue, Sep 04, 2018 - Page 3

Most of the plastic bottles found washed up along the coasts of Taiwan and Hong Kong are from Chinese beverage brands, a survey released yesterday by environmental groups found, leading the groups to call on China to push its beverage suppliers to establish plastic reduction goals.

The Short-lived Plastic Campaign survey was initiated by the Hong Kong-based Green Earth group, which in July and last month worked with other groups to conduct 16 beach cleanups in Taiwan and Hong Kong and analyzed the collected trash.

The production of plastic waste must be stopped at the source, Green Earth said on its campaign Web site, where it invited the public to join its monitoring efforts by recording the number and brand names of plastic bottles they collect.

Of the 4,441 plastic bottles collected during the clean-ups, 66 percent had labels in simplified Chinese characters, 28 percent had labels in traditional Chinese characters and 6 percent had labels in other languages, the groups said.

Regarding the clean-ups conducted in Taiwan — four in Penghu County, one in New Taipei City’s Wanli District (萬里) and the other in Keelung, 85 percent of the bottles collected were produced by Chinese brands, the groups said.

About 33 percent of bottles that bore labels with simplified Chinese characters were from the Master Kong (康師傅) brand, followed by Wahaha (娃哈哈), Nongfu Spring (農夫山泉), China Resources C’estbon Beverage Co (華潤怡寶) and Coca-Cola Co, they said.

The results were ironic, since Master Kong is a brand owned by a Taiwanese company that mainly operates in China and now its bottles are returning to Taiwan as marine trash, said Sun Wei-tzu (孫瑋孜), a member of the Wild at Heart Legal Defense Association.

Marine waste recognizes no borders, and the nations in a region should collaborate to reduce their production, Taiwan Environmental Information Association member Chen Tzu-jung (陳姿蓉) said.

As China is the world’s biggest producer of plastic packaging and waste, it should take bolder action to encourage plastic reduction, the groups said.

Beverage producers could also reduce unnecessary packaging by improving their product designs or planning recycling channels for their own products, they said.