Taiwan Church News
September 20~26, 2010
Anti-pollution, anti-nukes groups continue campaign despite Typhoon
Reported by Chiou Kuo-rong
Written by Lydia Ma
Typhoon Fanapi’s landfall this past weekend dampened people’s participation in the annual International Coastal Cleanup Saturday on September 18, 2010. Despite this setback, seven of the country’s counties and cities still managed to mobilize cleanup efforts along their coasts, including Taoyuan, Hsinchu,Taichung, Yunlin, Chiayi, Tainan, and Kaohsiung.
According to Kuroshio Ocean Education Foundation, there are 108 countries worldwide campaigning for cleaner shores. Inspired by their efforts, the foundation began a special project in 2008 monitoring pollution near Taiwanese shores.
Not only does the project involve documenting wastes, it also classifies them to uncover the source of most wastes and contact possible polluters to nip the problem in the bud. All information gathered by KuroshioFoundation is then forwarded to Taiwan Ocean Conservation Association (TOC) for statistical study.
According to reports, ocean conservation is still a foreign concept in Taiwanese people’s mindset and it’s not uncommon to find discarded batteries, fishing nets, or other wastes while scuba-diving or snorkeling.
Cleaning beaches serves mostly an educational purpose, said CEO Lai Jung-hsiao of the Society of Wilderness Association, adding that the ultimate solution is to change people’s lifestyles and views. But this will likely happen only when people see environmental degradation first-hand and feel compelled to lobby legislature as result.
Besides cleaner beaches, finding better sources of energy is also an important environmental issue inTaiwan. National Taiwan Normal University hosted “No Nukes Asia Forum” on September 18, 2010, attended by scholars and anti-nuclear energy activists from South Korea, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia,Japan, and more.
Forum topics included nuclear safety in case of earthquakes, relationship between nuclear energy and climate change, renewable energy, and updates on anti-nuclear movements in Asia.
According to one delegate, this forum first began in 1993 in Japan. At the time, Taiwan was the first country in Asia to vow to stay nuclear-free and such a declaration made headlines in the international community.
Who would have guessed that less than two decades later Taiwan would make an about-face in its stance on nuclear energy as soon as the Ma administration took office and previously halted nuclear plant constructions would resume?