Creating a Beautiful and Lovely Home for Everyone
Article by Xiao Rong-Hui. Translated by Cara Steenstra.
Apart from "Sun cakes", have you heard about other specialties from Taichung? Have you ever tried the deliciously fresh "Number One Scholar Chicken"? The highly effective and economical "Maple Leaf Environmentally Friendly Soap" has been the talk of the town. Do you know what the "White Out/ Eraser Movement" is all about? Do you have any idea what a "xiao jin gang" is? All these wonderful new specialties are closely related to the work of the Environmental Protection Bureau, and they are becoming "classics" in environmental protection efforts. By simply adding a little bit of "creativity", environmental protection work can create a lot of added value to other areas.
The Country's First Ever "Kitchen Waste Animal Feed Factory" in Taichung City. The "Kitchen Waste Animal Feed Factory" was completed in November 2003, and processes two tons of kitchen waste daily. This is the country's first kitchen waste animal feed factory. There are also designated areas for kitchen waste fertilizers, raising chickens, growing organic flowers, plants and vegetables, an educational display center and others. Designed as the country's first kitchen waste recycling center, it combines multiple functions of recycling and reusing kitchen waste, providing an area for recreational purposes, as well as educational and promotional purposes. At the moment, the daily quantity of kitchen waste being recycled is over 100 tons, claiming first place in the entire country.
For over a year, through the study and care of the National Chung Hsing University, Tung Hai University, National Chiayi University and the Taichung City Farmers' Association, chickens that were fed on a "kitchen waste feast" have been growing strong and well, providing good quality chicken meat. The Taichung City Environmental Protection Bureau even gave them the auspicious name of "Number One Scholar Chicken". As for kitchen waste that has been deemed unsuitable as chicken or pig feed, the Environmental Protection Bureau uses it for their "Worker Ants Kitchen Waste Fertilizer Demonstration Plan", teaching citizens the proper steps of recycling kitchen feed, providing materials such as fertilizer buckets and bacteria for making organic fertilizer for plants and trees. These actions not only improve soil quality, it also helps lessen the use of chemical fertilizers. These efforts in recycling and reusing waste have multiple functions of protecting the environment, increasing the longevity of the soil and promoting continuous land use. Worth mentioning is the "Li Ren Wei Mei" community in the North District of Taichung City, they have been carrying out a kitchen waste fertilizer program since 2001. Under the combined efforts of the people of the community, they have established a new way of life incorporating environmental protection work. In one year they have saved money on rubbish collection trucks, farming insecticides, septic tank biological deodorization agents and garden fertilizers. The community even kindly donated the money they made from selling their recyclable waste to charitable organizations.
Creative Environmental Protection Ideas in All Walks of Life. Another great idea that came from the public is the "maple leaf environmentally friendly soap", brought to us by NanTun District's Feng Shu Neighborhood. Volunteers at the Feng Shu Neighborhood have worked very hard on recycling kitchen waste. They collect used cooking oil from vendors selling deep fried products such as stinky tofu, tempura, and fried chicken and lunch boxes. Sodium hydroxide and cold water is mixed with the used oil then placed in recycled tofu containers, pudding containers or biscuit tins, and then aromatic oils and lemon rind are added to the mix as well. Environmentally friendly bio-degradable soaps are thus created. Ever since restrictions on plastic bags have been put in place, many vendors continue to try their luck by hanging regulation thick plastic bags on the outside, but secretly giving out free thinner plastic bags hidden in their drawers. Officers from the Environmental Protection Bureau have been going undercover as ordinary consumers and prosecuting offenders. At the moment, Taichung City's compliancy rates are up to 99.5%.
The Environmental Protection Bureau also monitors the city's water supply and potable water quality. At the moment, over 40 samples are randomly taken for water quality testing, and all of them have passed the potable water quality standard. Samples taken from 37 tap water supply wells are tested for heavy metals and colon bacillus, and they have all passed the potable water source quality standards. Colon bacillus tests conducted at various schools' drinkable water facilities have also passed, so school children can feel safe when drinking water at school. Tiny black mosquitoes, known as "xiao jin gang" in Taiwanese, are especially fond of high temperatures and humidity. Green moss inside blue green algae is a favorite breeding ground. In 2004, the City Government started its first ever winter prevention program to eliminate these black mosquitoes. Since winter in the DaKeng area is a dry season, it is especially suitable for soil overturning in streams and moss elimination. These actions effectively destroy breeding grounds of black mosquito larvae in the winter time. On top of this, selected areas are sprayed with insecticides to kill adult mosquitoes, thus effectively decreasing the population of black mosquitoes.
The "White Out/ Eraser" Movement is focused on businesses that stick or display advertising and posters haphazardly or without permission. The city's cleaning team effectively removes any illegal housing and pornographic advertising on the streets on a daily basis. Between October 2002 and December 2004, 18,540,000 items of such advertising had been removed. In order to encourage all citizens to join in this effort, for every 100 items of such advertising, the collector will be given a free lottery ticket. And for every 1000 items collected, the collector will be presented with a promotional gift. In just a few months, over 3,200,000 items were collected. When those pornographic advertising cease to have its effects, they will disappear on their own accord. Also worth a mention is the "Bao Zhi Lin Second Hand Furniture Recycling Center". The main attractions of this recycling center are its products and creative ideas. Many schools also hold their environmental protection educational program activities there. hildren can personally experience how they can recycle and reuse a lot of things. Ba Zhi Lin not only recycles furniture, bicycles, sofas and mattresses, the workers here have also built a lovely recreational area complete with a pond, bridge, pagoda and seats, all made from recycled waste products. After several reports by the media, this place has become quite an attraction in the Taichung area.
Environmental Protection Efforts Beautifies the Surroundings and Beautifies Our Hearts and Souls. Environmental protection includes efforts in cleaning up and beautifying the environment. Our hearts and souls can do with some cleaning up too. Two Taichung citizens have been working hard at spiritual clean ups in the city. One of them is Liao Jun-Tang, a devour Buddhist; the other is Ji Wei-Ming, a devout Catholic. They believe that pornographic materials have a serious effect on the spiritual development of young people. Their first step was to go to all old book stores and book rental shops to collect all the pornographic material, and then transport it all to Dadu Mountain to be incinerated.
The improvement of a city is not just about the improvement of its facilities, the quality of life and the way citizens identify with and feel about the city is also very important, and reflect upon the city's evolution. Taichung City Mayor Jason Hu expressed that he is very happy that Taichung City is a city with high standards, and that the people who live here are of a high caliber as well, which is why it is possible for efforts on environmental protection to have such great achievements and results.