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Instead of BBQ, local governments offer green, bizarre alternatives

2011/09/11 12:36:38

Taipei, Sept. 11 (CNA) Local governments in Taiwan are preparing for a variety of green activities to replace the traditional barbecue during the Mid-Autumn Festival as an effort to cut down the festival's carbon footprint.

For many families in Taiwan, the Mid-Autumn Festival, which will fall on Sept. 12 this year, will not be complete without the barbecues that accompany the traditional family gatherings during the holiday.

However, to raise public awareness about carbon emissions created by firing up the coals, some local governments have decided they will provide alternative family activities that are green but just as entertaining.

In Taiwan's outlying Kinmen County, a 13-day Mid-Autumn Mooncake Gambling Game encourages tens of thousands of residents to gamble in a green and educational way, tourism official Lin Ching-i said earlier this week.

Adapted from the ancient imperial examination, the simple dice game names different combinations of six dices based on the six ranks in the examination system.

Those who get the higher rank by throwing as many "fours" as possible will be the winner of the game and treated with mooncakes.

Part of Kinmen's ongoing effort to bill itself as a low-carbon island, Lin said more people are choosing gambling over barbecuing during the Mid-Autumn Festival over the years.

"What's special this year is that we are offering a cow as a second prize to encourage people to be environmental-friendly," she said. "See, unlike a car, cattle will not create as much carbon emissions."

In central Taiwan's Taichung city, after three years of discouraging citizens to abandon grilling, the government is trying to refocus celebrations around its cherished industry -- tea.

A total of 1,000 free servings of bubble milk tea, along with live concerts, will be provided at the city hall plaza on the holiday, said Taichung mayor Jason Hu.

"The world's best tea is in Taichung," said Hu. "We want more tea and less barbecue on the festival."

According to the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA), such green initiatives by city governments are expected to cut several thousand tons of carbon dioxide if implemented every year.

"Compared with industrial carbon emissions, the CO2 we will cut is relatively small," EPA official Chen Hung-ta said. "But it will be one of the best opportunities for environmental awareness to take root in a fun and positive way."

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)