Pictures and words by Lin Jun Hao
Translated by Cara Steenstra
When it comes to environmental protection, no one does it better than Hou Zhuang Community. Situated in Beitun District, Hou Zhuang Community has over 3000 households. Residents here are passionate about environmental protection. The Community Development Association and the Neighborhood Office work together in promoting the collection of kitchen waste, installing power-saving light bulbs for street lamps, running a second hand furniture collection center, creating an advertisement-free community, running an organic farm and much more. As you walk along this neighborhood, you will find ideas on how to protect the environment posted all over the place. This community has been awarded recognition for their environmental protection efforts by the Executive Yuan's Environmental Protection Administration, as one of the five model communities in the country for environmental protection.
Cleaning up the old community: Hou Zhuang has their own form of maintenance
Situated in Beitun District of Taichung City, Hou Zhuang Community has a total of 3,042 households, with a population of around 9,400. President of the Community Development Committee Mr. Jiang Xi Tan, former community leader Mr. Chen Cheng Tian and other volunteers who care about environmental protection have been working together to promote this issue. This old community that is situated in the metropolitan area has also garnered the attention of central government officials, awarding this community with a national excellence in environmental protection efforts.
The Chief of Taichung City's Bureau of Environmental Protection, Mr. Li Li De expressed that there were only five winners of this national excellence award for environmental protection and Hou Zhuang was one of the communities awarded with this recognition. President of the Community Development Committee Mr. Jiang Xi Tan, former community leader Mr. Chen Cheng Tian have been at the forefront of this effort. Their joint efforts, along with the volunteer group formed by community members made them a perfect team.
Hou Zhuang Community has their own style when it comes to environmental protection efforts. The Neighborhood Office promoted a policy of "advertisement-free", apart from advertising within the educational community, no other advertisements are allowed to be put up in public places. Volunteers were dispatched in the neighborhoods on the look out for small advertisements that do not abide by the community regulations, and are immediately removed. However, ten fixed advertising locations have been established for these purposes specifically, in an effort to keep the neighborhood clean. The community has also devised solar powered and wind powered energy-saving street lamps, reminding community residents of the important of energy saving.
In the promotion of energy recycle and reuse, the Hou Zhuang Community has set up kitchen waste collection points around the neighborhood, so that all the kitchen waste collected from households and businesses can be turned into liquid fertilizers. On average, a total of 350kg of kitchen waste is collected per month, and used to cultivate the community's very own organic vegetables.
The Hou Zhuang Community Development Association pointed out that at the moment, there are over 100 households participating in the community's "Worker Ant" Project. On average, approximately six barrels full of kitchen waste is collected each month. After two or three months, the kitchen waste is turned into fertilizers and used to cultivate various vegetables and fruits, including papaya, sweet potato and even rice. The Community Development Association provides an organic farming demonstration area that is 1,800 pings large. This demonstration farm plus extra farmland is able to completely make use of the kitchen waste generated from the community.
Reusing Organic Fertilizers, Recycling Second Hand Furniture
Chen Ah Liang Organic Farm and Lian He Guo Leisure Farm in the community are also passionate about promoting the recycling of kitchen waste, organic farming and ecological protection. These two places have become ecological classrooms that many people come visit from afar. Chen Ah-Liang Organic Farm is over 4000 pings large, it contains a fruit picking area, organic vegetable farm, rice farm, scenic area, kitchen waste organic farming area, fireflies preservation area and much more. This is an organic farm that has it all.
Lian He Guo Organic Leisure Farm also uses organic farming methods and the reuse of kitchen waste. Apart from admiring lotuses and lilies and tasting fire dragon fruits, you can also hear the songs of birds and insects, watch butterflies and fireflies flutter about, and see frogs, tadpoles and little fishes swimming in the pools. This is a popular destination for parents bringing their children here for an educational and fun outing.
The community has also set up a second hand furniture-recycling center, which created new job opportunities for some community residents, as well as reaching the goal of minimizing rubbish in the community. The "Dream Workshop Second Hand Furniture Educational Zone" has an area of 300pings, with 120 pings of display area and 180 pings of workshop area. Their business improved significantly because their products are of good quality. The Hou Zhuang Community Development Association expressed that as there are many furniture shops along Song Lin Road and there are many empty lots around the area, a lot of used furniture are often dumped in the area. In an effort to solve this environmental pollution problem and to create job opportunities for residents, "Dream Workshop" was established with the support of the community leader and other interested parties.
Since the establishment of this community second hand furniture-recycling center, used furniture no longer appear in the surrounding areas. Most furniture businesses are also happy to bring their customers' used furniture to the workshop directly. On the other hand, with the reconstruction of the nearby Military Dependents' Village, a lot of antique furniture has been recycled as well. Many people have come from outside of Taichung City to purchase the refurbished furniture at this recycling center. Some have even come as far as the aboriginal villages in the mountain areas. The first auction held here caused quite a stir when Taichung City Mayor Jason Hu "auctioned" City Councilor Zhang Hong-Nian. It was actually a donation from Councilor Zhang that was being auctioned off by Mayor Hu that day for charity purposes, but it sure did bring a lot of attention to the event.
Neither Mr. Chen Cheng Tian nor Mr. Jiang Xi Tan saw these results as entirely their own efforts, they both agreed that Hou Zhuang Community became one of the five model communities of the country through the hard work of the environmental protection volunteers and the cooperation of the community residents.