Working for a plastic free sea in Taiwan
SGRE Impact Project
In Taiwan, many beaches have become affected by the accumulation of marine waste, specifically plastic and polystyrene products. These generally originate on land. In 2019, RE-THINK, a Taiwan non-profit campaign advocating less ocean pollution by plastics, organized 17 beach cleaning events. These attracted 6,280 participants and cleaned up almost 26,200 kg of waste. One of these cleaning events involved the Taipei-based employees of Siemens Gamesa.
RE-THINK has been busy organizing monthly beach cleaning, even though they still see new trash being swept to the coast. “Most of the trash is from people’s daily lives. We can not finish cleaning if we don’t stop the trash from the origin. For example, reducing the use of plastic straws, single-use cutlery or plastic bags etc. can help solve the problem from origin. But it takes time,” stated Shawn Liu, project manager of RE-THINK.
RE-THINK believes that the more people see and realize the criticality of the issue, the more people will stop the trash from the origin. For that reason, RE-THINK has started to work with companies, Youtubers and schools. “We saw RE-THINK cleaning beach in August. When they came back in October with Siemens Gamesa employees, already there was less trash than in August” said a Changhua resident.
“It was an eye-opening experience to join this activity. It was impressive that we could pick up so much waste during the short amount of time that we were there, but also was the beach far from “clean” when we left. The real issue is at the origin. Even so, we still think it’s very important to take action; every piece of litter removed from the coast matters.” said Siemens Gamesa participant, Hsin Chen.
In the six years that RE-THINK has beenorganizing beach cleanups, it has removedin excess of 90,000 kg of waste from beaches. Following collection, the organization collaborates with local authorities and communities to recycle the trash.
“Our target is not zero trash right nowon the beach butgetting more people to acknowledge the importance of stopping trash waste from origin.This is how the problem can be resolved in the end,” added Shawn from RE-THINK. For this reason, the organization will take a new initiative in 2020 to make illustrated educational handbooks for children to understand different types of trash and to encourage them to reduce trash in their daily lives.