Thanks to recent slowdown of the pandemic in Taiwan, 26 students from 11 countries participated in the 2021 International Environmental Issues and Education Workshop organized by the EPA at Heping Island Park and National Museum of Marine Science and Technology in Keelung City on 11-12 September. The on-site training allowed them to understand Taiwan’s current efforts towards solving marine waste issues and its environmental education achievements.
The EPA once again organized international environmental education courses this year for foreign students studying in Taiwan. The “marine waste issues” was especially chosen to be the main focus of this year’s courses because of their transboundary nature, and the concept of circular economy was also introduced. The purpose was to let students understand Taiwan’s actions and experiences, strategies and feasible solutions to deal with marine wastes, which may serve as references for other countries when facing similar environmental issues.
The two-day event led students to Keelung’s Heping Island Park for on-site inspections. While they enjoyed the uniquely formed coastline of northern Taiwan, the students found a lot of marine debris strewn on the shore under the influence of the northeast monsoon. The sight inspired students to reflect on the fact that the ocean allows people to cross barriers and national boundaries connecting people and cultures, but it also transports marine wastes and pollution to all parts of the world. At the coast, students carried out beach cleanup and classified and recorded the quantity and sources of marine debris according to the International Coastal Cleanup system. In the classroom, students learned about the various approaches that Taiwan has adopted -- from the government, enterprises to non-governmental organizations -- to reduce plastics at the source and promote circular economy, as well as how environmental protection could be applied in daily life.
To echo the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the EPA used Taiwan as the starting point, and organized the international environmental education event targeting foreign students studying in Taiwan. The purpose of this event, in its second year now, is to make students from other countries understand the local and global environmental issues and threats that Taiwan and the world are facing, and inspire them into action to solve environmental problems. It is one of the important training programs offered by Taiwan, the host of the Global Environmental Education Partnership Asia-Pacific Regional Center.
Under the guidance of the course instructors and after brainstorming in groups, the 26 young people from different countries learned about the current state of the environment in different countries, diverse ways of thinking and perspectives, and shared possible solutions to environmental issues. Marine wastes know no national boundaries. It is hoped that the students can apply their experience in Taiwan when facing their own country’s local environmental issues in the future, so that the seeds of environmental sustainability can be spread all over the world.
Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, October 2021
- Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)