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Marine litter is a global challenge. Every year 8 million tons of trash ends up in the ocean. It is estimated that by 2050 there could be more plastic than fish in the sea. Therefore, the European Union, the United Nations and the Smurfs have teamed up to clean beaches through actions organized by the EU's delegations across the globe. This year, there are more than 80 EU delegations organising beach cleanups from September to October.
Today, the European Economic and Trade Office (EETO), Environmental Protection Administration (EPA), and Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), joined by the staff, friends and family members of the EU Member States offices, and the New Taipei City Bali District residents, have come together again to clean the Coast of Waizewei Nature Reserve. A total number of 248 participants have cleaned up 437.6kg of trash and 369.2kg of recyclable waste. The EU Goodwill Ambassador Moomoo, EPA mascots Bing-Bing and Hei-Bao, and the Climate Action Smurf also showed up to support the cause. The participants used the collected trash to form the shape of a sea turtle on the beach, urging the public to be aware of how plastic waste is seriously harming the marine ecology.
The beach cleanup is part of the "2019 EU Climate Action Week" series events. The EETO not only urged for the public's concerns on climate change, but also encouraged everyone to live a low carbon and plastic-reduced life. The EU published its Plastic Strategy in 2018, including measures such as banning selected single-use plastic product, and requesting plastic producers to share the cost to clean up and process wastes. Following the Strategy, the EU has called for voluntary pledges from industry to promote recycled plastic. Until the end of 2018, 70 companies and business associations have submitted voluntary pledges to recycle and reuse plastic, such as Coca-Cola, IKEA, L’Oréal, and P&G.
"Cleaning beaches has an instant positive result, but we need to improve the system to combat marine pollution. The EU Plastic Strategy is helping Europe to transform into a circular economy, and achieve the EU's Sustainable Development Goals at the same time. We hope that one day we will not need to oragnise any beach cleanup," said Filip Grzegorzewski, Head of the EETO.
The event was participated by staff, friends and family members from the EETO and 11 Member States offices, namely Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Slovakia, Spain, and the UK.