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Taiwan celebrates Earth Day with action

2012/04/22 19:48:41

Taipei, April 22 (CNA) People around the country rolled up their sleeves Sunday, the 42nd Earth Day, to clean up the environment and spread green awareness.

Led by Taiwan Souji, a civic group that advocates hands-on community action, about 15,000 people all over the country elected to clean school toilets and drainage ditches to show their commitment to the environment.

The cleaning teams included Stephen Shen, head of the Environmental Protection Administration, who scrubbed toilets in an elementary school in Taipei to set an example.

"Ten years from now, when we look back to our work today, we will find it all to have been worthwhile," said the group's chairman, C.J. Hsu.

In Taitung County, eastern Taiwan, some 100 surfers gathered at Jihuei Fishing Port to highlight marine protection through the practice of aboriginal rituals.

Amidst ancient chanting, according to event organizer the Taiwan Environmental Information Center, the surfers spread flowers on the surface of the sea to show their respect for mother nature.

Through the efforts of nearly 1,000 volunteers, the group added, more than 160 kg of trash was collected from the seashore after the ceremony.

"We wanted to create a carnival-like atmosphere to make saving the environment a fun job," said group representative Wen Yu-shuan.

Meanwhile, thousands of people in Tainan City, southern Taiwan, pledged to cut down their carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by about 680,000 tons each year from now on.

At a garden party held in the city's historic Eternal Golden Castle, families and school children were introduced to easy ways to reduce energy waste.

For instance, each of the event participants was given a hand-held fan and asked to use it instead of air conditioning in the summer.

"If we can all start saving energy in our daily routines, it won't take us long to reach our goal of reducing CO2 emissions," said Chang Hwang-jen, director-general of the Tainan city government's Environmental Protection Bureau.

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)