Cross-Strait Groups Gather to Fight Plastic Pollution

The Clean Oceans 2015 Joint Seminar on September 14th ended successfully in the National Museum of Marine Science and Technology with a new Memorandum of Engagement on plastic pollution in the ocean. The International Symposium on Cross-Strait included 47 NGOs, voluntary service units, research centers, and the general public, with more than 150 people attending. The participants included experts from Chile, the United States, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and China, speaking about plastic pollution and marine litter monitoring and marine conservation issues. 

For the first time ever, the national experts and representatives spoke about “civic education,” “government policy” and “industrial responsibility,” and created a three-point consensus for Engagement in a new Cross Straits memorandum for collaboration on plastic pollution issues.  

The three main focal points of the Memorandum of Engagement on Cross Straits Plastic Pollution, created by the General Assembly, include:

1)  A unified challenge for others to join us to reduce plastic pollution in the environment, and the ocean, 

2)  To increase users’ responsibility: to think reusable, not disposable, and 

3)  To challenge all industries and individuals who use and enjoy the ocean to be better stewards/guardians with the entities at this event.  

Organizers of the meeting included the Society of Wilderness (Taiwan), the Shenzhen Mangrove Wetlands Foundation (China), the National Museum of Marine Science and Technology, and was sponsored by the Society of Entrepreneurs & Ecology (SEE: a foundation in China formed by entrepreneurs of Taiwan and China).   

At the opening ceremony on the 12th, the chairman of the Society of Wilderness, Lai Rong-xiao, spoke of the impacts of marine litter which are far-reaching, and are common issues facing mankind, hoping that the two sides can overcome geographic barriers between the groups. Huo Liu, Shenzhen Mangrove Wetlands Conservation Foundation (MCF), Head of Cooperation and Development, said “since 2014 the Shanghai Rendu Ocean NPO Development Center jointly launched the Guardian of the Chinese coastline project, and has so far set up 12 monitoring points in Chinese coastal provinces, along with the Environmental Protection Agency, and continued to recruit volunteers to join the team.” SEE Secretary-General, Wang Li-Min, explains that this indicates that the essence of cross-strait exchanges created by marine environmental groups, and entrepreneurs such as SEE, constitute new ideas which will devote more attention to the effort of marine litter issues, fulfilling both corporate and social forces.  Wu Jun-Ren from the National Museum of Marine Science and Technology, encourages the participants and all sectors of society with the slogan “know the sea, love the sea, and care for sustainable oceans.”

The symposium’s slogan is “NGO action + Scientific research = the power to protect our oceans.” A clean beach is the easiest way to encourage care for the ocean, and marine litter monitoring with more scientific data will bring joint solutions in the regions waters. In addition to scientific research, public initiatives, policies legislation, industrial research and lectures, all participants personally went to the Jinshan District, New Taipei City State to conduct a beach litter survey which included identifying the country of origin of some of the litter found, and the micro plastic pollution density on the beach. Through statistical analysis of material collected during the beach study, the group found that 93 percent of marine litter was plastic, of which 20 percent was plastic bottles originating from China and Taiwan, unifying the need for cross-strait collaboration on marine plastic pollution. 

NGO/NPO participants

Taiwan participating organizations:

  • Society of Wilderness
  • National Museum of Marine Science and Technology
  • National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium
  • Kuroshio Ocean Education Foundation
  •  Plastics Industry Development Center
  • Slow Down, Mr. Plastic
  • Taiwan Watch Institute
  • Orchid Island Tribal Cultural Foundation
  • Penghu Chimei marine ecosystems Care Association
  • Taiwan marine environment education promotion association
  • Taiwan Environmental Information Association
  • Marine Education Center in Taiwan
  • New Taipei Water Sports Association
  • R.A.R.E. environmental art studio

Chinese mainland participating organizations:

  • Society of Entrepreneurs & Ecology (SEE)
  • Shenzhen Mangrove Wetlands Conservation Foundation (MCF)
  • Shanghai Rendu Ocean NPO Development Center
  • North Sea Community Volunteers Association
  • Beijing Water Conservation Foundation
  • Dalian Municipal Environmental Protection Volunteers Association
  • Fujian Provincial Environmental Protection Volunteers Association
  • Fujian Green Technology Culture Promotion
  • Guangxi Academy
  • Guangzhou outlook and love of nature conservation center
  • Sanya Coral Reef National Nature Reserve Management Office
  • Hainan shellfish and coral Conservation Society
  • Hainan Dong Fang Miaoxi Public Service Association
  • Hainan Marine Conservation Society
  • Birds and insects Wood Conservation Center
  • Ningbo Beilun District Volunteers Association
  • Panjin City Dawa environmental science, public service association (green Panjin)
  • Panjin Gull Protection Association
  • Qinhuangdao City Entrepreneurs Association (urban environment and development laboratories formats)
  • Clean Coast volunteer group
  • Sanya City, the Blue Ribbon Marine Conservation Society
  • Siming District, Xiamen Greencross Environmental Service
  • Xiamen Little Gull natural ecological science promotion center
  • Shenzhen Blue Marine Conservation Society
  • The beautiful coastal town of Shishi City Xiangzhi Environmental Protection Volunteers Association
  • Tianjin Eco-city green eco-cultural Association of Friends (Friends of Tianjin Green)
  • Fish Conservation and Center for Sustainable Development
  • Zhejiang Culture Promotion of green technology
  • Wenling City Youth Volunteers Association
  • Chinese mangrove Lin Baoyu Union

And other NGO groups:

  • Cientificos de la Basura
  • Hong Kong Clean Up (Ecozine)
  • Japan Envrionemental Action Network (JEAN)
  • Ocean Recovery Alliance
  • Plastic Pollution Coalition (PPC)

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