The main locale for this year's World Oceans Day was Suogang Fishing Harbor in Penghu County. The event was inaugurated by EPA Minister YingYuan Lee; Hsiang-Wen Huang, the Director of the Ocean Conservation Administration, Ocean Affairs Council; Zi-Chang Liao, Chief Secretary of the Fisheries Agency (FA), Council of Agriculture; Yao Yang, legislative representative for Penghu County; Kuang-Fu Chen, Magistrate of Penghu County; and Shuang-Quan Chen, Deputy Speaker for Penghu County Council.
Minister Lee gave a speech, stressing that the issue of plastic waste in the ocean has already attracted considerable attention globally. Taiwan’s focus on creating a clear timetable for reducing single-use requirements for installing surveillance system have also been revised. 2) Regulations on the monitoring records of the derivative wastes produced by disposing hazardous industrial waste have been added. Those applying for the issuance or extension of a disposal permit shall now also submit a quality management plan for both the waste accepted and produced and an operation management plan. 3) The validity period for the first permit has been updated and the timing to apply and review the permit extension has been revised. According to the amendments, the expiration date of the permit will still take effect even if the issuing authority has not made a decision by then. Those applying for an extension should conduct operational tests on the waste disposal equipment. 4) Those applying for an extension of clearance or disposal permits shall submit the proof of being a local union member. plastic products has gained international affirmation. For example with plastic straws, the EPA published a draft regulation online that would restrict government departments, public/private schools, department stores and shopping centers from using singleuse plastic straws for individuals drinking at those locations. Through multiple strategies like regular communication and promoting waste prevention, the seas around Taiwan will have less plastic waste and become even more beautiful.
The EPA noted that this year coincides with the 20th anniversary of the establishment of The Most Beautiful Bays in the World. This year’s congress will be held in Penghu in September, and provide the county with the opportunity to welcome visitors from around the world. As part of providing a warm welcome for this congress, the FA provided NT$19 million to Penghu County Government in order to clean up fishing nets from the ocean floor. The EPA also provided over NT$32 million earmarked for cleaning up garbage from the ocean floor and over NT$66 million from the Offshore Island Development Fund, totaling NT$110 million for the removal of fishing nets and garbage from the ocean. Around one metric ton of fishing nets was removed from Suogang Fishing Harbor on World Oceans Day alone. In the future, the EPA hopes that, with continued cooperation, the issue of fishing nets and floating garbage in Penghu County will be solved.
Other than the event being undertaken by divers and boat teams to clean the ocean floor, there was also a display of artwork made from trash collected in the ocean. The event did not provide any singleuse utensils. Instead, organizers provided utensils for rent and had stalls selling unpackaged goods in order to encourage people to get involved in a lifestyle that relies less on single-use plastic items, thus reducing the amount of plastic waste that ends up in the ocean.
The EPA called together 19 coastal counties and cities to organize a series of activities for World Ocean Day. It hopes to steadily reach the goal of a plastic-free ocean by cleaning up plastic waste hotspots in the ocean, promoting the reduction of single-use plastic products, inter-departmental cooperation, subsidies from diverse sources, and encouraging people to participate in various activities.
- Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)