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Taiwan's take-out lifestyle shows up as garbage on country's shores

2011/05/03 14:38:09

Taipei, May 3 (CNA) Disposable items, such as plastic cups andlids associated with the country's take-out culture, accounted for 70percent of the waste strewn along Taiwan's coast last year, accordingto an analysis released Tuesday.

Of 30,304 items recovered from the country's shorelines incleanup activities last September, 70 percent came from coastalrecreation activities or our daily lives, said Chang Tai-di,executive director of the Kuroshio Ocean Education Foundation, at apress briefing.

The five most common items found were plastic bags, glassbottles, fishing floats, caps and lids, and plastic cups and bottles.

The study was based on 30 cleanups held in Taiwan in September2010 in which 2,561 people helped clean 12.68 kilometers ofcoastline. The initiative coincided with the global InternationalCoast Cleanup campaign.

Compared with data from previous years, the number of plasticbottles found "decreased substantially," Chang said, probably becauseincentives are now in place for people to recycle them.

But the numbers of plastic cups, caps and lids commonly used bytake-out beverage shops remained high, leading environmental groupsto urge the public to use their own mugs or at least recycle theirdisposable cups.

"A small act can change the environment. We should start doing sofrom our daily lives, to love the earth, to pamper the ocean, " thealliance said in a PowerPoint presentation.

According to statistics provided by the alliance, Taiwan uses 1.5billion disposable plastic cups every year, which environmentalistssaid weigh down and threaten the environment.

Jenner Lin, secretary-general of the Society of Wilderness,applauded regulations introduced by the Environmental ProtectionAdministration on May 1 that require beverage shops, fast foodoutlets and convenience stores to give discounts or bonus volumes tocustomers who supply their own mugs.

The policy, Lin believed, will help bring down the number ofplastic cups found along the shoreline.

The analysis was conducted by the Taiwan Ocean Cleanup Alliance,which is composed of five environmental groups: the Hualien-basedKuroshio Ocean Education Foundation, the Tainan-based Marine DebrisMonitoring Association, the Keelung-based National Museum of MarineScience and Technology, the Taipei-based Society of Wilderness andthe Taiwan Environmental Info Association.

(By James Lee)