Creating awareness for plastics recycling

Covestro Partners with Eminent Museums in Education Campaign to Combat Marine Litter

• Covestro Taiwan publishes “Bright Minds for a Brighter World” bilingual picture book • Create awareness for waste management principle through chidren adventure story
Marine litter is a global challenge.  Therefore on June 8th, the World Ocean Day, Covestro Taiwan, announced its partnership with the National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium (NMMBA), National Museum of Marine Science and Technology (NMMST), National Taiwan Science Education Center (NTSEC), National Museum of Nature Science (NMNS) and National Science and Technology Museum (NSTM) in Taiwan to engage in an environmental education campaign to battle the problem of plastics in the ocean. Together, the six organizations will embark on a storytelling project using the Covestro copyrighted “Bright Minds for a Brighter World” Chinese-English bilingual picture book on various elementary and kindergartens. They will also deliver the picture books to over 145 schools mainly along the coast where the problem of marine litter is most obvious, from the north to the south of Taiwan.  It is expected to raise our children’s awareness of waste management and prevent littering behaviors.
    
“Marine litter is a global challenge that affects the world’s oceans, seas and rivers. As a manufacturer of high-tech plastics materials that go into applications in construction, automotive or electronics, Covestro believes that plastics are far too valuable to end up in the ocean.  If everyone makes even a small effort, we can avoid plastics going into water bodies,” said Michael Lee, Managing Director of Covestro Taiwan. More than 30 Covestro volunteers in Taiwan are committed to conduct story telling sessions based on the picture book in ten elementary schools and kindergartens along the seashore in Changhua and Linyuan, as well as seven schools along the river banks of Tamsui River, Xindian River, Jingmei River and Keelung River. Lee is proud to have won NMMBA , NMMST, NTSEC, NMNS and NSTM for their collaboration and hopes to further win other organizations to join in Covestro’s ‘Save the Ocean’ story project.

The book “Bright Minds for a Brighter World” tells the story of three Earth guardians with superpowers set out on a search for the root cause of marine litter after they find a sea turtle with a plastic straw stuck in her nose. They find that the source of ocean trash is human’s improper waste disposal and lack of environmental awareness. The story ends with an illustration of correct ways to dispose of waste, including classification knowledge as well as recycling, reducing and re-using technologies. Children are also encouraged to write down their commitments to the planet through interactive activities.

The picture book has been adapted from an initial version that Covestro Thailand developed with local organizations and has received endorsement from various Taiwan governmental bodies, such as the Ministry of Education, the Environmental Protection Agency or the Forestry Bureau. As Lee points out: “We are proud to have also received valuable feedback and guidance on the implementation of the story book by the Ministry of Education, the Environmental Protection Administration and the Forestry Bureau, and NMMBA. Environmental protection can only be successful if government, industry and society work hand in hand.”  The authorities’ testimony is evidence to the urgent need to address the problem of marine litter together with the industry:

 Wen-Chung Pan, Minister of Education, said, “Taiwan is an island country. Conservation and protection of marine resources is everyone’s responsibility. The fundamental solution is to change our own behavior first. Covestro’s bilingual picture book ‘Bright Minds for a Brighter World’ can raise children’s awareness of the serious impact of marine pollution on the ecosystem and encourage them to live in an environmental way and protect our Earth.”

Ying-Yuan Lee, Minister of the Environmental Protection Administration, further indicated, “As a result of human behaviour, more and more pollutants have been released to the oceans. Sea turtles, a symbol of luck and longevity, die of starvation because they accidentally eat plastic bags or suffer serious pain when drinking straw get stuck in their nostrils. Each of these horrible scenes reminds us that it’s time to reflect on our own behaviour. Moving towards zero plastic in the oceans, we must initiate the change today.”

“The ocean is the source of all lives. An ocean with life brings hope for humanity’s future. It is our hope to raise children’s awareness of the impact of littering on organisms and the environment, and therefore they can empathize and acquire the habit of recycling, reducing and re-using, to achieve the goal of protecting the living environment of marine life.” said Hwa-Ching Lin, Director General of the Forestry Bureau, the central conservation authority of Taiwan.

Chii-Shiarng Chen, Director General of the NMMBA, decided to join the “Save the Ocean” story project within two hours upon learning of this project plan. He planned to promote this project to 25 kindergartens on the Hengchun Peninsula. “Promoting marine education is NMMBA’s mission. This picture book uses ocean trash as a theme to demonstrate the connection between marine biology and environmental issues so that children have a clearer idea how much harm our daily garbage does to the marine life and the environment. Through storytelling, it is hoped that such environmental awareness sprouts from our little citizens, and that they learn to reduce wastes and take actions to protect the ocean,” said Chen.

In the coming academic year, Jeun-Len Wu, Director General of the NMMST, will tour from Tamsui to Fulong to perform storytelling in 25 elementary schools by the sea in northern Taiwan. “The NMMST carries out different activities to let people understand the ocean pollution problems. This time, we will use the picture book in various seaside schools to illustrate the marine life being damaged by trash, so that children can perceive the impact of sea pollution problems on the marine ecosystem. We can start with ourselves in trying to reduce single-use garbage. To recycle, reduce and re-use is the start of protecting the oceans,” said Wu.

“People are proud to live on the Earth with blue oceans surrounding us, and when we search for other planets we’re also hoping to see water, however, we ignore our own water pollution. We hope that we can remind the community and young generation of the importance of clean oceans through this storybook and related activities,” said Wei-Hsin Sun, the Director General of the NMNS, who has commited to promote the story to 25 schools of central Taiwan.

Since 2011, the NTSEC has launched a charity learning activity called “Go! Edison” to cultivate in children the ability to solve problems using science, now they plan to add this storybook into the event in the new academic year and will be promoted to 30 schools in remote areas. "The pollution problem of marine litter has seriously damaged the Earth. This year, we have set the theme of “environmental protection and sustainability” to encourage the children to understand the problem causing by marine pollution, further inspire their interests in science and develop relative knowledge, and encourage them to solve the urgent issues of climate change and environmental sustainability with more creative ideas," said Nan-Hsien Chu, the Director General of the NTSCE.

"NSTM is pleased to announce this event on World Ocean Day with Covestro and other museums. NSTM’s storytelling volunteers will also use Covestro’s bilingual picture book to approach over 25 elementary schools and kindergartens of south Taiwan, to enable children to understand the ecological crisis caused by marine litter, cultivate the proper concept of marine conservation through the illustrations, and recognize that protecting the ocean is everyone’s responsibility," said Hsun-Hsiang Chen, the Director General of the NTSM.

In addition to providing each child with a bilingual Chinese and English storybook, Covestro and the five national museums will also provide a Thai version of the storybook published by Covestro Thailand to educate school children from the Thai community. The books will be used alongside the Thai language program which many schools have implemented for these children.

The Chinese and English bilingual storybook of “Brighter Minds for a Brighter World” and the Thai and English bilingual version from Covestro Thailand can be downloaded at:
http://www.covestro.tw/en/projects-and-initiatives/education-campaign-to-combat-marine-litter



About Covestro:
With 2016 sales of EUR 11.9 billion, Covestro is among the world’s largest polymer companies. Business activities are focused on the manufacture of high-tech polymer materials and the development of innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, electrical and electronics, construction and the sports and leisure industries. Covestro, formerly Bayer MaterialScience, has 30 production sites around the globe and employs approximately 15,600 people (full-time equivalents) as of the end of 2016.

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mkb    (2017-034E)

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