The nation’s beaches are beset with plastic waste, most of which is food packaging, utensils and food-related items, while decades-long efforts at beach clean-ups have had a limited effect, environmental groups said as they urged the public to reduce their usage of disposable plastic products.
The Society of Wilderness on Friday last week announced the results of its beach clean-up campaigns this year, saying that 89.6 percent of the garbage collected from Taiwan’s beaches were made of plastic, and 72.4 percent were food and beverage containers or eating utensils.
The Top 10 garbage items collected were bottle caps, fishing floats, plastic bags, drinking straws, disposable eating utensils, glass bottles, plastic bottles, disposable cups, food containers and cigarette butts, the society said.
“Except for the fishing floats, all the top 10 items that are littering our beaches are everyday products, suggesting there is a huge problem of the public’s consumption behaviors and garbage management,” society president Lai Jung-hsiao (賴榮孝) said.
The society mobilized nearly 10,000 volunteers to clean up 48 beaches in 15 cities this year and they collected 36 tonnes of trash, Lai said.
There is an average 700g of garbage for every meter of beach, he said.
However, while the 290 beach cleaning events organized by the society over the past 12 years have helped the nation’s beaches become cleaner, there is still 1.8 million tonnes of garbage scattered around Taiwan’s 1,200km coastline, he said.
Ocean pollution caused by tiny bits of plastics is a major concern, as there are 2,090 plastic scraps smaller than a coin on every square meter of beach, amounting to 25 billion plastic bits being strewn about the nation’s coast, he said.
Society of Entrepreneurs and Ecology’s Taiwan branch director Cheng Ying-pin (鄭瑛彬) said the public must reduce its plastic footprint.
“Industry should cut down on its reliance on disposable plastics, replacing them with recyclable materials,” Cheng said.
The groups urged businesses to “de-plasticize” their production: companies should calculate the mass of different plastics that make up their best-selling products to select products with the highest de-plasticizing potential and then reduce the plastics used to produce the products.
They also called on the government to launch survey and monitoring projects to identify the source of ocean trash and devise solutions to cope with the ever-growing problem.
China appears to have built mockups of a port in northeastern Taiwan and a military vessel docked there, with the aim of using them as targets to test its ballistic missiles, a retired naval officer said yesterday. Lu Li-shih (呂禮詩), a former lieutenant commander in Taiwan’s navy, wrote on Facebook that satellite images appeared to show simulated targets in a desert in China’s Xinjiang region that resemble the Suao naval base in Yilan County and a Kidd-class destroyer that usually docks there. Lu said he compared the mockup port to US naval bases in Yokosuka and Sasebo, Japan, and in Subic Bay
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The majority of parents surveyed in northern Taiwan favor the suspension of all on-site classes at schools from the junior-high level and below amid a surge in domestic COVID-19 infections, parent groups said yesterday. About 84.4 percent of respondents in a survey of 2,912 parents in northern Taiwan, where the outbreak is the most serious, said they supported suspending classes, the Action Alliance on Basic Education, the Taiwan Parents Protect Women and Children Association, and the Taiwan Love Children Association said. The groups distributed questionnaires to parents in New Taipei City, Taipei, Keelung, Taoyuan and Hsinchu city and county from Saturday morning
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