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Taipei City to Host the Inaugural Zero Waste Concert

* Taipei City Government and NPO “Wow Taiwan” joined forces to host the first zero waste concert in Taiwan – “Reborn Fest” – at the Chianti Plaza in Xinyi District over the 2 day period from July 13 to 14 to support the cause of environmental sustainability. Mayor Ko Wen-je attended the pre-event press conference in the afternoon of June 19 to offer words of encouragement for the staff and to appeal to all citizens to turn out for the event, so as to transform Taipei into a cleaner, more livable and more sustainable city.

During his speech, Ko commented that when thinking about his vision for the Taipei City mayoral campaign, he wrote down livability and sustainability for the sake of pragmatism, since livability means that it is suitable for human inhabitation and sustainability refers to what we can leave behind for our future generations. Under this premise, Taipei City Government has implemented numerous corresponding policies since he was elected as the city’s mayor.

According to the mayor, one month after the policy banning disposable tableware was implemented, paper waste and plastic containers generated by city hall were reduced by 80% and 65% respectively, demonstrating their remarkable effectiveness. The policy was subsequently applied to government agencies besides the city hall and tertiary colleges; by the end of this year, all houses and buildings rented from Taipei City Government – including night markets – will be banned from using disposable tableware.

Ko elaborated that the next emphasis is on surplus food. Taipei City produces an average of 170 tons of kitchen waste every day, and he reprimanded the Department of Environmental Protection yesterday for not doing enough to eliminate food waste because, over the course of one year, the total amount of food waste generated has only reduced from 178 tons to 173 tons daily. Statistically speaking, a reduction of less than 5% is insignificant, meaning that the anti-food waste campaign is ineffective. To this end, Mayor Ko instructed the agency to step up its efforts.

The mayor pointed out that to turn Taipei into a livable and sustainable city, the concept of 3R (reduce, reuse, and recycle) must be applied to decrease garbage and kitchen waste. If Taipei is to become a civilized metropolis, efforts in these areas must be reinforced. In light of this, he expressed his thanks to Afu, the curator of Reborn Fest and leader of the renowned band Sodagreen for organizing such a meaningful event. It is hoped that Taipei City will be able to strive towards the goal of zero waste through this campaign.

As a doctor, Ko Wen-je commented that the number one cause of death in Taiwan is cancer, particularly lung cancer. In the US, the risk of lung cancer in men is considerably higher than in women; yet, the ratio in Taiwan is roughly 1:1, meaning that although there are relatively fewer female smokers in the country, the air is so polluted that walking on the streets yield similar results to smoking. He lamented that Taiwan locals produce so much garbage every day that the overwhelming amount of trash has to be incinerated, generating PM2.5 and dioxin in the process that lead to lung cancer, so why not resolve the problem at the source by cutting back on waste? He believes that if waste can be minimized, there will be no need to incinerate garbage and pollute the air. Without air pollution, people do not get lung cancer; it is that simple!

Ko Wen-je stressed that regardless of I-Rent, YouBike, U-Moto, or U-Parking, we can strive to make Taipei a cleaner, more livable and sustainable city through sharing and the 3R approach. Thereafter, he donated a pair of preowned jeans to the organizer for modification, and it will be unveiled at the zero waste concert on July 14. Everyone is waiting with bated breath.