Taipei, Taiwan, 11 May 2018 – In a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Taipei City Government and Greenpeace East Asia, this year’s Taipei City Marathon has committed to reducing single-use plastic, the first large-scale environmental effort of its kind by the capital.
Attracting up to 27,000 runners in December each year both locally and abroad, the MoU pledges to implement multiple sustainable measures at the Marathon including: minimising the use of plastic products such as disposable cups; promoting a BYO system and installing drinking water stations for reusable bottles; paperless programs and finish certificates; and the option to participate as an “environmental runner” and forgo “gifts” such as a souvenir shirt, which is often made from polyester and contributes massively to micro-plastic fibres found in the world’s oceans.
“In the context of global competitions and events, souvenirs such as commemorative shirts and towels fall within an outdated mentality. Compulsory gifting of such products causes pollution and waste,” says Hoki Lo, plastics team leader at Greenpeace East Asia, Taipei. “Taipei City Government’s efforts to reduce plastic in these type of competitions puts them at the forefront of the global community, and gives environmentally conscious runners a choice in helping to curtail the hidden pollution caused by waste and things like synthetic fibers.”
The MoU was reached after a two-month long advocacy effort by Greenpeace East Asia in which the organisation surveyed runners into their view on plastic waste during marathons, how often they would reuse gifted items post-event, and their opinion on having a more environmentally friendly marathon.
“The love of running extends to the love of nature, so we are very glad to have this cooperation with Taipei City Government,” said Greenpeace East Asia Executive Director Sze Pang Cheung, who signed the “Green and Sustainable Taipei Marathon” MoU with Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je. “Though this is just a first step in promoting sustainability for a popular city-wide event, we hope it’s not the last. We will continue to advocate and work with the Taipei city government to ensure they create a plastic-free future for the health and safety of both the people and the planet.”
In February this year, Taiwan announced an impressive ban on all single-use plastics by 2030 and starting from next year, chain restaurants will no longer provide straws for in-store use.[1,2]
Greenpeace is part of the global #BreakFreeFromPlastic movement, and is calling for retailers, corporations and businesses to reduce single-use plastic.
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Press release from Taipei City Hall
Photos available here