Kaohsiung, The Ocean Affairs Council (OCA) said Friday that it will step up action to deal with an increase in marine debris along Taiwan's coast after a recent report highlighted the seriousness of the issue.
The OCA said it has launched an investigation into microbeads and marine rubbish hot spots around Taiwan to gauge the situation.
This is being conducted in collaboration with the Coast Guard Administration, National Central University and several foundations dedicated to the conservation of Taiwan's marine eco-system, it explained.
This year, a fleet of 2,009 ships from cities and counties across Taiwan has been recruited to clean up marine trash around the country as part of government efforts to prevent any further deterioration.
According to the report, made public by Greenpeace and the Society of Wilderness the previous day, Taiwan's coastline has been inundated with marine garbage, with enough trash to fill an average of 13 big plastic trash bags every 100 meters in those areas last year.
The North Coast near New Taipei's Juifan District and Southwest Coast close to Changhua County's Tacheng Township are the most polluted areas, with trash collected from 13 locations in the two areas accounting for half the country's total maritime waste, despite the fact that they have only 10 percent of the country's coastline, the report said.
Plastic bottles/cans are the major items among Taiwan's marine waste, followed by Styrofoam materials and fishing nets or gear, the report said, adding that most waste comes from other countries and is brought by ocean currents.
It was also discovered that there is more waste associated with fishing near fishing ports, while more plastic bags are found near sight-seeing spots.
Since the start of this year until mid-June, more than 60,000 metric tons of rubbish had been collected from streams and rivers to prevent it from floating into the sea, according to the Environmental Protection Administration.
Last year, a record 200,000 people took part in beach clean-up activities across Taiwan, collecting a 65,000 metric tons of garbage, the administration said. (Chen Chih-feng and Flor Wang)
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel