About 2,000 volunteers participated in a beach cleanup on Sunday at the Nanliao Seashell Park (南寮貝殼公園) in Hsinchu’s North District (北區).
Thirty-six groups, including the Buddha’s Light International Association, as well as students and teachers from other cities and counties took part in the cleanup, which was hosted by the Hsinchu Environmental Protection Bureau.
The Nanliao Fishing Harbor (南寮漁港) has long been a popular destination on weekends, and the Hsinchu City Government has over the past few years been trying to transform the Nanliao area, Hsinchu Deputy Mayor Shen Hui-hung (沈慧虹) said.
Photo: Tsai Chang-sheng, Taipei Times
In addition to a large kite-flying area without any utility poles, there is now an artificial beach next to the Nanliao Tourist Information Center where children can play, she said.
There is also a newly installed stairway nearby designed to look like fish scales and the Nanliao Sports Park (南寮運動公園), Shen said.
With the addition of these attractions, continuous maintenance and management have become crucial to keeping the environment clean, and it requires a group effort to ensure that the coastline and fields are free of trash, Shen added.
Photo: Tsai Chang-sheng, Taipei Times
Volunteers picked up various kinds of waste, such as plastic and glass bottles, and polystyrene foam, from the beach.
Last year, volunteers even found an abandoned motorcycle, Shen said.
The oceans are filled with plastic bags, straws and other plastic products that take a long time to break down in nature, not only damaging marine life, but also affecting human health through the food chain, Shen said.
Ahead of Earth Day on Monday next week, Shen invited volunteers to pledge to reduce their use of single-use plastic products.
Volunteers discovered that a majority of the waste on the beach was plastic, bureau Director Chiang Sheng-jen (江盛任) said.
A Buddha’s Light International Association member found a large fishing net buried under the sand, he said, adding that it took three attempts by more than 20 volunteers to pull it out.
To understand the marine debris problem and solve it at its source, the bureau has been collecting data and categorizing the trash collected in the annual cleanup using a chart designed by the International Coastal Cleanup, a movement launched by the Ocean Conservancy.
The data have allowed the bureau to educate Hsinchu-based businesses, groups and individuals on key sources of marine waste and ways they can help solve the problem, it said.
Hopefully, the data will help the bureau achieve its goal of managing marine debris at its source, and providing a clean and unpolluted coastal environment for residents and visitors, it added.
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