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Household trash forms most marine waste around Taiwan

2018/12/19 17:34:37

Taipei, Dec. 19 (CNA) Daily household trash and garbage created during recreational and leisure activities form the vast majority of marine waste around Taiwan, followed by cigarette butts, lighters and fishery waste, according to the results of a marine litter monitoring survey released Wednesday.

The survey conducted by the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) and the environmental protection departments of 19 coastal cities and counties across the nation shows that daily garbage and litter created during recreational and leisure activities, such as plastic bottles, bottle caps, plastic straws, disposable drinking cups and tableware, made up the largest portion of marine debris.

According to an analysis of plastic bottles, the countries of origin of most of the bottles cannot be identified, but most of those identifiable are mainly made in Taiwan, while most of those from overseas are from China, South Korea and the Philippines. This indicates that marine trash can hurt coastal areas and endanger marine ecosystems, and could be swept to coasts of other regions, said Yuan Shao-ying (袁紹英), head of the EPA's Department of Environmental Sanitation and Toxic Substance Management.

The survey also shows that waste created by fishery and fishing activities form a large portion of the marine debris in cities and counties of northern Taiwan and offshore areas, while trash created due to smoking made up a certain portion of marine litter in areas of eastern Taiwan.

The results of the survey were revealed at a press conference held by the EPA.

According to the EPA, since a beach clean-up campaign was launched in 2017, over 20,000 national cleanup events around Taiwan have been held, with the participation of nearly 400,000 people and up to 7,000 tons of trash cleared.

To gain a further understanding of the makeup of Taiwan's marine waste, the EPA and local environmental protection departments undertook the survey during the first three quarters of this year.

To encourage more people to join the beach cleanups, the EPA has established a mechanism for people to apply with the environmental authority in their localities to organize cleanups of local beaches, dive sites, rivers or other coastal environments, it said.

(By Wu Hsin-yun and Evelyn Kao)