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EPA Teams Up with EU Economic and Trade Office in Beach Cleanup

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Advocating “a healthy ocean without borders”, the EPA and European Economic and Trade Office in Taiwan (EETO) joined hands again in organizing a beach cleanup event. This time, the event was held in Wanli, New Taipei City on 17 October 2020 with nearly 200 participants. Led by EPA Minister Tzi-Chin Chang and the EETO Head Filip Grzegorzewski, personnel from the two agencies, EU Member State offices in Taiwan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), the National Property Administration (NPA), and the Coast Guard Administration (CGA) all cleaned up the beach together.

Minister Chang remarked that the “Salute to the Ocean” policy implemented by the Executive Yuan was formulated to keep beaches clean and make sure that not an inch of Taiwan’s coastline would go unchecked by the government. The EPA has coordinated relevant ministries and county and city authorities to establish “regular cleaning”, “immediate cleaning”, and “urgent cleaning” mechanisms for coastal sections in their respective jurisdictions. Now the cleaning frequency has been increased particularly for hotspots prone to accumulating large amounts of wastes. As of the end of September 2020, approximately 70,000 metric tons of fishing nets and other waste had been cleared in a total of 17,383 cleaning activities covering 10,598.8 kilometers of coastline.

EETO Head Grzegorzewski mentioned that the EU is dedicated to keeping ocean environments healthy and sustainable and mobilizes its delegations around the world to organize cleanup activities between September and November every year around the International Coastal Cleanup Day. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this event in Taiwan was one of the few cleanups that could still be held in 2020.

The event cleaned up approximately 404 kilograms of wastes and 36 kilograms of recyclables. The EPA said that this was the third cleanup the EPA had jointly organized with EETO. The purpose of beach cleanups is not just to pick up trash on beaches, but more importantly, it’s to put environmental education in action. The EPA will continue to work with different agencies and commit more resources to clean up the coasts, as well as call on the public to not only take part in cleanups, but also cut down the use of plastics and containers in their daily lives. This way, source reduction can be implemented to resolve the marine waste problem. As more and more people subscribe to the notions of “cleaning the ocean”, “knowing the ocean”, “approaching the ocean”, and “entering the ocean”, the ocean will ultimately be cleaner.

Excerpt from Environmental Policy Monthly, 23 (11)

Ministry of Environment