In 2018, Tse-Xin Organic Agriculture Foundation (TOAF) and the Bliss & Wisdom Foundation of Culture and Education led a collaboration initiative to encourage and motivate youths to work together in tackling the plastic waste problem in schools and fight plastic pollution around the country. To learn more about the initiative or to get involved, please visit www.lightuptheocean.org. Initially, 13 schools across Taiwan were invited to join the initiative to reduce single-use plastics. Under the guidance and support of the Environmental Protection Administration, over 17,600 students in 100 primary schools and kindergartens has helped remove more than 1,600,000 single-use plastic items out of the waste stream since its launch. These efforts successfully served to raise environmental awareness, foster sustainability education, promote positive attitudes towards the environment and competency in citizen action skills.
For students who are committed to working for a healthy ocean, they also inspire their family, friends and community to take action or make a change, such as urging local stores to phase out single-use plastics and encouraging their school to reduce consumption of single-use plastic items. Based on the teaching plan, each school devises and organizes various student activities, such as beach cleanup, street cleanup, short skit on reducing use of plastic, plastic-free graduation trip, plastic-free party, etc. In spite of the recent global COVID-19 epidemic which has undermined the global battle against plastic waste, teachers and students are still committed to cutting down on plastic in their daily lives.
In celebration of World Oceans Day, TOAF hosted a live broadcast on Wednesday, June 10, 2020 that highlights achievements of youth led plastic-free movement in 100 schools from across the country and an awards ceremony recognizing outstanding student leaders who have created an activity, event or campaign that takes action against ocean plastic pollution. In July, teachers will share their experiences on promoting and encouraging the reduction of plastic waste. In the future, TOAF also plans to develop an online database with teaching materials featuring information about ways to reduce plastic in schools.