TAITUNG, TAIWAN - Media OutReach - 30 September 2020 - World Cleanup Day (WCD) is the global social action volunteer program held in coordination with LET'S DO IT! on the 3rd Saturday of every September to combat global waste. Since established in Estonia in 2008, WCD has collected over 100,000 tons of trash worldwide.
2020 World Cleanup Day - Let's Keep Taitung Beautiful
Magistrate April Yao's core values of pure, good, and beauty have motivated Taitung County Government to participate in WCD since 2019. Taitung's aid in this year's event differs from the previous because COVID 19 has greatly affected the island's east coast's tourist population. The "Taiwan Model," hailed globally for successfully combating the pandemic, has allowed Taitung County to remain free of the virus. While this influx of people flooding into Taitung has brought flourishing domestic tourism, it also caused many local businesses and public facilities alike to show signs of not appropriately coping with the demands. Netizens have dubbed the phenomenon "retaliatory tourism."
To deal with the negative impacts the retaliatory tourism brings, Taitung is promoting the concept of "responsible tourism" to raise public awareness of environmental protection. Taitung County Environmental Protection Bureau and the International Development and Planning Department led the "2020 World Cleanup Day Series, Keep Taitung Beautiful" event. All 16 townships and municipalities partook in a series of cleanup events between 9/12 -- 9/19, with local communities working in unison, including an underwater dive cleanup on Green Island. This year's events collected 7424 kg of trash and 2,479 kg of recycled waste. The 3,423 participants consisted of diverse organizations ranging from all 91 Indigenous senior cultural health centers to a plethora of private and public groups such as Fushan Fisheries Resources Conservation Committee, Lions Clubs, B&Bs and many more. It is a true testament to Magistrate Yao's philosophy of "openness, integration & innovation" with everyone working together towards a common goal.
While the influx of post-pandemic tourism brought Taitung economic gains, it also brought excessive trash from visitors' overflow, negatively impacting the natural ecology. It's crucial to educate Taitung's visitors to be "responsible tourists" in order to sustain a healthy ecology for all to enjoy. If everyone does their small part, certainly a big difference can be made. Magistrate Yao hopes that Taitung can continue to serve as a positive inspiration to ease all the pandemic's negativity. And one day, Taitung becomes a place where locals and visitors take ecological preservation seriously, allowing the counties' beauty to shine far into the future.