Garbage Out! LDP Helped Clean the Coast.

By Ou, Ting-Cun, LDP Cycle 5, Junior, Dept. of Bio-Industry Communication and Development

In the afternoon of October 27th, the sun was warm and glaring. On the beach of Wazihwei, Bali, people exclaimed on and off: “I’ve uncovered an underwear! Hahaha!” “I’ve found a large piece of plastic! You see!” “I just picked up….” They were a group of volunteers coming to clean the beach, including employees from the US-based cooperation GE, children from Reindeer Children Home and Mu-Xiang Protectory, along with students from NTU Leadership Development Program. This day, they gathered together to join the one-day voluntary experience activity.

Learning through Preparing

This activity was the Winter Volunteer Day 2012 hosted by GE cooperation, focusing on two themes, “Caring for the Disadvantaged Children” and “Keeping Up Clean Water & Environments”. Students from NTU LDP and GE volunteers (abbreviated as GEV) led the children from Taoyuan Reindeer Children Home and Mu-Xiang Protectory to visit Bali Refuse Incineration Plant and participate in the coast cleaning activity at Wazihwei, Bali.

Though the activity looked simple, it had deep meaning behind the scenes. Speaking of costal cleanup, it was not merely simple acts of picking up garbage, yet much knowledge was hidden. According to the statistics of the International Coastal Cleanup, which originated from the US early in 1986, volunteers from all over the world have accumulated up to more than 8’000’000 people and have cleaned up 65’000 tons of garbage in total. Each cleanup must be documented, listing the weight and categories of garbage in the cleaning activity as well as the ecological environment observed on the coast. With such documentation, it is possible to find the impact of different garbage and further trace the source of garbage making and therefore improvement can be made. Based on above-mentioned goals, the pre-cleanup education becomes extremely important.

During the preparation, volunteers from Society of Wilderness were specially invited to give a lesson to the LDP students and GEV. They even provided cleanup promotion teaching materials, including brochures and a teaching aid of simulated seabird stomach. Moreover, they guided everyone on how to educate the public. All in all, those “adult students” would be responsible for teaching nursery school children and other participating citizens the right way to clean the coast!

Owning to the fact that every LDP student would take the responsibility of leading a team and conducting the pre-activity education, everyone was anxious and uneasy. Fortunately, GEV had two pre-activity discussions with them, conducted a complete rehearsal, helped students to get a better hand on the activity and deepened the anticipation of a smooth and successful day.

Getting to Know the Theme of the Day: Garbage

On the day of the activity, all the people gathered in front of Bali Refuse Incineration Plant. Children from the protectory looked somehow shy on account of strange encounters, but anticipating expression could still be found on their faces. Everyone had put on a volunteer T-shirt and was ready to learn and serve with enthusiasm and sincerity.

The observation and learning at the plant that followed led them to witness the creativity and delicacy of resource recycling. For instance, the dolls made of recycled bouquet wrapping paper and egg shells or light ornaments cut from transparent PET bottles. Each work amazed the participants with the fact that dumped garbage could be reused in such practical and beautiful ways.

Not to mention the nine-story tall garbage storage pit, and the massive junkyard crane machine! Everyone was astonished when seeing such a vast amount of garbage and could not help pondering that if everyone could make a small effort in reducing his or her own disposals, it would be of great help in the garbage reduction!

“I am bound to keep the coast clean!”

After the observation visit, Chen, Tsung-Hao from NTU LDP briefed the coastal cleanup activity to all participants, whom, in the afternoon, proceeded to Wazihwei beach and could not wait to start the cleaning mission.

As the NTU LDP students made the final reminder and introduction before the actual cleanup, the game of seabird stomach simulation, in which everyone literally touched and felt the garbage that had been left on the beach and swallowed by seabirds, took place. It successfully built a strong sense of mission in all the participants.

The garbage along the coastline was proven of huge quantity as they looked around and began cleaning up. Some small garbage mixed with sand and dirt required good eyesight to pick up while some big ones already covered with sand and dirt needed much endeavor to pull out. Although the sea waves were just patting nearby and cute little crabs kept showing up on the beach, no one was distracted; instead, they worked seriously hard. Some children went all out trying to pull out huge garbage from the sand, yet it was too difficult for them. Ignoring the persuasion of giving up, they said, “I want to make the beach cleaner; I am bound to clear the garbage!”

The short 30-minute garbage hunt ended up as a shockingly heavy harvest: four large bags of garbage and considerable amount of recyclable items, leaving documents full of gratifying and warning records.

The feedback time in the end was exceptionally bustling. With the host of NTU students, children from the protector enthusiastically shared the unusual garbage they picked up, such as a lighter, a big rug or a deserted canvas that was too heavy to lift up. Adult students also shared their thoughts on the whole-day event; some felt it had been far from an ordinary outdoor teaching and learning activity, and serving voluntarily to clean the coast was unforgettable.

Everyone looked happy even after such a long day of walking in unbearable sand-filled shoes, fatiguing under the hot sun as well as dealing with the dirty and heavy garbage. Besides being loaded with great gifts of satisfaction in return both mentally and physically, they also outgrew themselves and evolved!

NTU Highlights Issue 1117