To maintain the cleanliness of coasts, oceans, and rivers, Executive Yuan approved the “Salute to the Ocean: Coastal Cleanup ＆ Maintenance Program (2020-2023)” on May 7, 2020. Led by the Environmental Protection Administration, the Program is jointly implemented by 9 ministries and local governments focusing on "cleaning up", "waste reduction", "removing wastes", "transparency", and "education". At the same time, several measures for “reducing waste from the source” have been established.
To support the execution of the Salute to the Ocean policy, this project continued to maintain and improve the existing systems and activities, assisted in strengthening the control and assessment mechanism of the system, and publicized the results of the policy. Through collaboration, the ministries are making every possible effort to maintain a clean coastal environment in our country.
The coastal waste monitoring survey results showed that from 2019 to 2022, the number of "domestic waste and those resulting from recreational behaviors" ranked first, accounting for 70% to 87% of all wastes. After analyzing the top 10 waste items, the number of PET bottles ranked first for 4 consecutive years while the number of takeout containers and disposable tableware has increased significantly since Q3 2022, which is presumed to be related to the impact of the epidemic on restaurants and the dining habits of consumers.
The analysis of the source of country for PET bottles shows that the total volume in the northern region is dominated by PET Bottles made in Mainland China, accounting for 45.3 %, especially the PET bottles found in New Taipei City and Taoyuan City.
Since Q1 2020, most waste PET bottles found in Taoyuan City were made in China while those found in New Taipei City were made in Taiwan. However, since Q3 2022, there has been an apparent upward trend in the number of PET bottles made in China. It is speculated that this was caused by the survey site in New Taipei City being moved to Wanli District, and the source of waste was affected by the northeast monsoon.
To coordinate with the “Salute to the Ocean: Coastal Cleanup & Maintenance Program,” this project developed various functionalities for each ministry to manage the coastal cleanup results online more efficiently. Improvements include continuously updating the drawings in the systems for 290 responsible authorities, and developing features such as the drawings of proactive cleanup areas and the map for reporting dirty hot zones.
In addition, to reduce the time and effort required for respective authorities to conduct coastal waste surveys, the mobile app version is now provided, allowing users to complete the survey on-site. This feature allowed the data to be gathered and keyed into the system in a paperless way reducing the time and effort required by more than an hour.
The Salute to the Ocean Project has entered its third year since its launch in 2019. Through reporting cleanup results by various ministries and committees and surveys done by civil groups, we now have a preliminary understanding of the hot areas of the coasts. In the future, emphasis will be placed on cleaning the hot areas while other coastal areas will be maintained through patrolling and reporting. The goal will gradually shift from comprehensive cleaning to maintaining clean and tidy coasts to optimize the allocation of resources.
For people to understand the severity of coastal pollution and the importance of source reduction while promoting the results of this project, several measures were implemented, which include publishing articles on topics related to environmental education, hosting coastal cleanups, and designing advertorials in both Chinese and English on print media. All of these are to raise people’s awareness of protecting the coastal areas, to attract different groups of people to report dirty coasts, and achieve the goal of everyone protecting the coastal area together.