Plastic pollution has become an increasing threat to the environment, and means to mitigate it need to be developed. Since Taiwan has achieved one of the world’s highest recycling rates and has introduced numerous policies to reduce plastic use and pollution, we here review the strategies, actions, and policies by Taiwan’s environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs), media, government and other stakeholders to reduce plastic use and pollution. The information was obtained through a literature review, the expertise of two authors who worked on this topic for many years, and a questionnaire which harnessed expert opinions. We first provide some necessary historical background about the development of environmental issues in Taiwan over the last few decades. We then review the main contributions of each stakeholder (ENGOs, media, government, and industry) to the plastic pollution problem during Taiwan’s last three national governments. The first phase during the 2000-2008 government was characterized by ENGOS learning cleanup, monitoring, and outreach methods which they used to raise public awareness and promote relevant policies. There was little response from the other stakeholders. The second phase during the 2008-2016 government was characterized by ENGOs learning more scientific methods and increased public outreach, including scientific conferences and reports. In response, the media began to report on this issue, while the government drifted with few responses because they continued to see plastic pollution as a litter problem to be solved mainly through cleanup activities. The third phase during the current government was characterized by continued ENGO activities and a sudden explosion of media interest; this coincided with a much more active and positive government approach which culminated in an ambitious, unprecedented, and wide-ranging 10-year Action Plan which will greatly advance source reduction and removal of plastic waste, scientific monitoring and research, and public outreach. A summary of expert opinion determined the most effective governmental policies, reports, and media campaigns in recent years. Due to the concerted long-time efforts by ENGOs to influence other stakeholders, Taiwan has become a relatively successful example of how to tackle the plastic pollution problem. While we acknowledge the distinctiveness of this example, we nevertheless hope to inspire a more concerted effort by other governments to tackle the plastic pollution problem using Taiwan’s example as a blueprint.
Walther BA, Yen N, Hu C-S. (2021). Strategies, actions, and policies by Taiwan’s ENGOs, media and government to reduce plastic use and marine plastic pollution. Marine Policy, 126, 104391.