Environmental group the Penghu Ocean Citizen Alliance yesterday raised awareness of large amounts of garbage washed ashore by Typhoon Chan-Hom and urged the public to avoid using plastic products and not disposing of trash on beaches.
Alliance director Weng Chen-sheng (翁珍聖) said that, after the typhoon, he found a variety of garbage along the shore of Siyu Island (西嶼) — the second-largest island of Penghu County — including fishing equipment, plastic utensils, bottles, diapers, cosmetics containers and toys.
“The majority of the garbage that washed ashore during the typhoon is plastic,” he said.
Referring to a video by New Scientist magazine on Monday last week, which shows zooplankton consuming tiny beads of plastic, he said that marine litter could greatly compromise food safety.
Although zooplankton are at the bottom of the food chain, the plastics they consume accumulate in fish that feed on zooplankton and those fish are then eaten by humans.
“Over time, this could pose a greater threat to food safety than adulterated food oil. In the near future, even ocean fish could become a food safety issue,” he said.
He urged the public not to dispose of garbage in the ocean or on beaches and to avoid using plastic products whenever possible.
The problem could be somewhat mitigated by people using reusable utensils when they picnic or barbecue, as plastic utensils are a major source of waste.
He said that the association would launch a beach cleaning campaign that extends to the intertidal zones off Siyu Island.
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