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Coastal Cleaning and Maintenance

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Background

Taiwan, an island nation encircled by the sea, is endowed with abundant marine resources, varied terrain, and diverse ecological environments. However, its coastlines are increasingly threatened by the accumulation of driftwood, discarded fishing nets and gear, and litter, largely due to human activities, natural geographical features, and tidal forces, all of which detrimentally impact the environmental landscape. Previously, a major challenge was the unclear delineation of responsibilities among various agencies. In pursuit of the objective of maintaining clean beaches, it is crucial to clearly assign coastal management responsibilities, develop effective cleaning strategies, and implement source reduction initiatives. Salute to the Seas, the Coastal Cleaning and Maintenance Project embraces a comprehensive and eco-friendly approach centered around five principal areas: cleanup, reduction, disposal, transparency, and education. The project is dedicated to establishing and executing a robust, practical, and enduring system, ensuring comprehensive care and cleanliness of the coastline, thereby preserving the natural beauty of Taiwan.

Objectives

  1. Clearly delineate the roles and responsibilities of coordinating agencies involved in coastal cleaning and maintenance, ensuring comprehensive cleanliness along every segment of the coastline.
  2. Actively decrease the volume of coastal waste each year by implementing effective source reduction strategies.
  3. Establish guidelines for promptly addressing the cleanup of driftwood and debris post-natural disasters, aiming to complete such efforts within a 7-day timeframe.

Expected Benefits

  1. Ensure that the entire coastline is managed and consistently clean.
  2. Enhance the cleanliness and orderliness of coastal areas, thereby improving their accessibility and appeal to the public, and subsequently boosting their tourism potential.
  3. Implement effective source reduction measures, such as the gillnet registration system and river garbage interception initiatives, to significantly decrease the overall volume of coastal waste.
  4. Foster a deeper understanding and respect for the ocean through educational initiatives. Cultivate a sense of awareness of and appreciation for the marine environment among students, teachers, parents, and the broader community. This endeavor aims to lay a solid foundation for a nation that values and protects its marine surroundings, thereby strengthening Taiwan's identity as a maritime nation.

Specific Achievements

  1. Regular Cleaning: Coastal management authorities conduct cleanings based on visitor numbers at each beach. From 2019 to 2022, they successfully removed approximately 230,000 tons of coastal waste.
  2. Immediate Cleaning: Responding to public reports of coastal pollution, teams are promptly deployed to conduct immediate cleanup. Between 2019 and 2022, 1,516 incidents were reported, with an average resolution time of around 3 days.
  3. National Coastal Cleanliness: The Ministry of Environment (previously known as the Environmental Protection Administration, Executive Yuan) initiated regular coastal waste monitoring (rapid screening surveys) starting in 2019 to gauge nationwide cleanliness. The data reveals a decline in coastal waste from 2,294 tons in 2018 to 940 tons in 2022, marking a 60% reduction.
  4. Gillnet Registration System: The Fisheries Agency, under the Ministry of Agriculture, announced on January 14, 2021, the formal implementation of a gillnet registration system effective from July 1, 2021. This system requires all gillnets and fishing gear to be labeled with a unified vessel number and includes a lost gear reporting mechanism. By the end of 2023, 100% of gear used by operational fishing vessels (exceeding 5,244) was labeled, with 101 cases reported.
  5. Establishment of Aquaculture Waste Storage Areas: Predominant waste from local aquaculture, primarily oysters and clams, led the Fisheries Agency of the Ministry of Agriculture to establish 24 temporary waste storage sites. Together, these sites have processed about 14,551 tons of waste through removal, transportation, and recycling. 【This includes floating devices (such as polystyrene), oyster sticks, bamboo racks, extension ropes, and oyster shells.】
  6. Replacement with Alternative Floating Devices: The Fisheries Agency of the Ministry of Agriculture subsidized the replacement of 176,695 floating devices with alternative ones from 2020 to 2023, replacing approximately 93% of the total volume of polystyrene floats.
  7. Recycling and Reusing Abandoned Fishing Nets and Gear: Since 2020, the Ocean Conservation Administration under the Ocean Affairs Council has engaged local governments in pilot programs for recycling and reusing abandoned fishing nets (oyster ropes) and polystyrene (floating devices). As of 2023, over 799 tons of these materials had been recycled, achieving a reuse rate of nearly 75%.
  8. Removal of Uprooted Trees Upstream: The Forestry and Nature Conservation Agency, under the Ministry of Agriculture, has established 34 temporary storage sites and enhanced patrols in state-owned forests and wild streambeds to remove uprooted trees and driftwood. From 2019 to 2022, around 20,778 tons of driftwood were cleared.
  9. River Garbage Interception: The Ministry of Environment, in collaboration with the Water Resources Agency of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, has been conducting river garbage interception operations. Between 2020 and 2023, approximately 40,000 tons of garbage were intercepted (13,001 tons in 2020, 9,650 tons in 2021, 6,876 tons in 2022, and 9,978 tons in 2023), significantly reducing the influx of land-based waste into the coastal and marine environments.

Future Outlook

In September 2023, the Executive Yuan ratified the second phase of Salute to the Seas, the Coastal Cleaning and Maintenance Project. Allocated for the period of 2024 to 2027, a budget of nearly NT$5.9 billion has been earmarked to propel the project across five primary dimensions: cleanup, reduction, disposal, transparency, and education. This holistic strategy is aimed at establishing an extensive coastal cleaning and maintenance system, spanning from mountains to rivers, ports, and seas. The integration of these initiatives into long-term policy measures is intended to comprehensively bolster marine development activities, thereby affirming Taiwan’s commitment to the ocean’s sustainable development. The project invites public participation in maritime activities, including cleaning the ocean, knowing the ocean, approaching the ocean, and entering the ocean. This endeavor is in line with the policy goal of ensuring vigilant management and pristine conditions of Taiwan’s entire coastline.

Related Link

Coastal Cleaning Information Platform: https://ecolife2.moenv.gov.tw/BeachCleanup/

Source: 
Environmental Management Administration
Updated: 
2024-04-17
Hit: 
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