UN World Environment Day - “Beat Plastic Pollution”

Covestro Partners with National Parks and National Museums in Taiwan to Combat Marine Litter

• The plastic that ends up in the oceans can circle the Earth four times in a single year • Covestro's picture books aim to teach children about waste management and the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle)
The National Parks Division of the Construction and Planning Agency of Ministry of the Interior will include Covestro’s picture book project in National Parks’ activities in Taiwan . Starting from the left: Richard Northcote (Chief Sustainability Officer at Covestro), Hsin-Hsou Wu (Director General of Construction and Planning Agency, the Ministry of the Interior), and Axel Limberg (Delegate and Chief Representative, German Trade Office Taipei.)
In response to one of the greatest challenges of our time, “Beat Plastic Pollution” is the theme of United Nation’s 2018 World Environment Day on June 5th. To support this mission, Covestro Taiwan announced to combat marine litter via environmental education programs with the following partners.
•    The National Parks Division of Construction and Planning Agency, Ministry of the Interior:
•    9 national parks, 1 national natural park and 2 metropolitan parks
•    The National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium
•    The National Museum of Marine Science and Technology
•    The National  Science and Technology Museum
•    The National Taiwan Education Center
•    The National Museum of Natural Science

The programme spotlights Covestro's acclaimed picture book, Bright Minds for a Brighter World, using story activities to raise children’s awareness of the issue ocean pollution, and the importance of waste management and the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle).

Every year, up to 13 million tons of plastic leak into our oceans, where it smothers coral reefs and threatens vulnerable marine wildlife and it can persist for up to 1,000 years before it fully disintegrates . Taiwan’s environmental data  also shows that 90% of the beach clean-up wastes were plastics, and the proportion of disposable plastics among them was as much as 78.2%.

The book Bright Minds for a Brighter World tells the story of three Earth guardians with super powers, who 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 the ocean trash is humans’ improper waste disposal and lack of environmental awareness. The story ends with an illustration of correct ways to dispose of waste, including information on classification recycling, reduction and reuse of waste. Children are also encouraged to write down their commitments to the planet through interactive activities.

“For an island like Taiwan, protecting the ocean from marine litter is crucial,” said Richard Northcote, Covestro’s Chief Sustainability Officer, who was invited to Taiwan by the Minister of the Environmental Protection Administration. “Children have magic power and a strong impact on our future. If we can use an easy way to let children realise how urgent it is to protect the oceans and encourage them to live up to the rules of waste management and the 3Rs, they even could influence adults’ behavior. If everyone makes a small effort, we can make the world a brighter place.”

A total of 1616 students from 41 schools in Taiwan mailed their commitments to the earth back to Covestro.

Covestro Taiwan’s ocean protection story project began on 2017’s World Oceans Day. To date, Covestro Taiwan and the five national museums have reached out to more than13,000 young students and received 1616 students’ reply letters from 41 schools in Taiwan. Today, the National Parks Division of Construction and Planning Agency, the Ministry of the Interior, has also announced that it will cooperate with Covestro to initiate this environmental education programme, and will roll out the storytelling activities in Taiwan’s nine national parks, one national natural park and two metropolitan parks starting from July.

“The issue of floating marine garbage along Taiwan’s coasts has gradually worsened over the past 10 years, national parks are facing the same issue and plastics were the majority,” said Hsin-Hsou Wu, Director General of the Construction and Planning Agency, Ministry of the Interior, “Natural decomposition of plastics takes more than 400 years. It is not only a major threat to coral ecosystems, but also causes death of marine life by accidental consumption. Decomposed plastic particles have a far-reaching influence as they enter the ecosystem and human bodies through the food chain, the terrestrial water system, and ground water. With this picture book, I  call to all parents to protect our important national park resources. Let’s help to make the national parks plastic-free!”

 “The ocean breeds life. However, as our society develops, we ungratefully pollute the oceans,” expressed Chii-Shiarng Chen, Director General of the National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium. “On World Environment Day, we must remind our children and teach them to be alert. The National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium introduces the wondrous world of the blue seas through research, exhibitions, and education. We encourage treating the issues seriously and facing them head on to realize the ideal of a Garden of Eden in the waters.”

Jeun-Len Wu, Director General of National Museum of Marine Science and Technology pointed out that “Our mission in marine education at the National Museum of Marine Science and Technology is to promote understanding, experiencing, appreciating, and sustaining the ocean. The picture book illustrates the relationship between humans and the ocean, and together with the museum’s themed facilities, the story guides all children to understand the current issue of marine garbage. Let’s have ‘Brighter Minds for a Brighter World!’” This year, the Museum also plans to work with Keelung Narrative Association to introduce Covestro’s picture book to more children.

“Humankind is proud of their blue oceans. Our exploration into outer space is also based on the search for water, but we have neglected the water pollution issue at home,” said Wei-Hsin Sun, Director General of the National Museum of Natural Science said. “We hope this picture book and related events will remind the public and the younger generation of the importance of taking ocean pollution seriously!” In addition to the activities within the National Museum of Natural Science, the Museum will also take this environmental story education project to 921 Earthquake Museum of Taiwan, Chelungpu Fault Preservation Park, and Fonghuanggu Bird and Ecology Park.

“Marine education activities are flourishing in Taiwan, but our sea pollution and marine garbage issues are worsening day by day,” said Hsuch-Yu Chen, Director General of the National Taiwan Science Education Center. “Since 2011, the Center has embarked on an ongoing ‘Edison Adventure’ charity event which engages economically disadvantaged students in rural areas various scientific activities. The picture book has been used since 2017 in many elementary schools in Taipei City, as well as rural schools. These activities are expected to strengthen oceanic education and assist every student to begin protecting our oceans from simple daily habits such as waste reduction and recycling.”

“The National Science and Technology Museum aims to become a green museum and has created environmental education courses for people of all ages,” expressed Hsun-Hsiang Chen, Director General of the National Science and Technology Museum. “In the past year, the Museum has introduced correct environmental protection concepts to the public through interesting stories, starting with environmental education courses and popular science events for children.”
“We are really appreciated and feel very honoured to partner with the Construction and Planning Agency, the Ministry of the Interior and the national museums in this project,” said Michael Lee, Managing Director of Covestro Taiwan. “Environmental protection can only be successful if government, industry and society work hand in hand.”

The English/Chinese bilingual picture book “Bright Minds for a Brighter World” was localised from the original creation by Covestro Thailand. Click here to download:  http://www.covestro.tw/zh-tw/projects-and-initiatives/education-campaign-to-combat-marine-litter

About Covestro:
With 2017 sales of EUR 14.1 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, construction, wood processing and furniture, and electrical and electronics industries. Other sectors include sports and leisure, cosmetics, health and the chemical industry itself. Covestro has 30 production sites worldwide and employs approximately 16,200 people (calculated as full-time equivalents) at the end of 2017.

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