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Love mountains, respect & clean mountains by not leaving trash behind in the mountains

Tataka Recreation Area of Yushan National Park has close to 700 thousand visitors per year to enjoy the natural wilderness on the trails. With more than 3 decades of management from the Yushan National Park Headquarters (abbreviated as YSNPH hereafter), green mountains, azure sky, fresh air, the sea of clouds at sunset and paradise to wild animals are the impressions that visitors have towards Tataka. However, a lot of trash also came with several thousands of visitors. To maintain the sensitive ecological environment of the high mountains, we have been continuing to promote trash reduction throughout recent years. To promote environmental protection for the mountain area and to enhance the efficacy of trash transportation, the new model of eco-friendly electrically compressed garbage truck has been put into operation to collect and transport trash starting from June 1st of this year (2020). To collaborate with the operation of the new truck, the program of trash reduction by bringing trash down the mountains will be further promoted, where the old model dumpsters in the parking lots will be removed, hoping to accomplish the goal of trash reduction for the national park.

The YSNPH indicated that it was observed that commercial teams with rented tourist coaches threw uncategorized garbage into the dumpsters or even discarded trash randomly, resulting in garbage wastewater leakage leading to a dirty environment. Moreover, the garbage produced through recreational activities caused hazard towards the ecological environment, where the Tataka Station personnel have observed for several times that wild animals such as Formosan yellow-throated marten, weasels and Formosan macaque have toppled garbage, which will alter the animal habits over a long term basis, further influencing individual health. The Tataka Recreation Area is located at a sea level between 2,610m to 2,862m, not only featuring recreational trails but is also the entrance to climbing Yushan; the trash produced by crowds taking a short break and mountaineers climbing up Yushan total up to about 40 tons per year as transported by the YSNPH. The trash inside the park needs to be transported to the Alishan waste transfer station located 27 Km away, and then transported down the mountains to Lucao for incineration. Other than the increasing garbage treatment fee as the years go by, the increased transportation trips further increased the CO2 emission. Moreover, recyclable categories down the mountains including Tetra packs, lunch boxes, and plastic inner boxes…etc. cannot be recycled up in the mountains, and therefore can only be treated like garbage in general, which also results in the waste of resources.

The YSNPH indicated that according to the observations, a large portion of the trash inside the dumpsters at parking lots was garbage produced by visitors when going up to the mountains, therefore it is not impossible to bring the trash down the mountains with their vehicles. Trash collection at recreation areas will be dealing mainly with trash inside the park, and visitors are encouraged to bring their trash down the mountains. Starting from June 1st, the old model dumpsters at Shangdongpu Parking Lot and Tataka Parking Lot will be removed, while the trail garbage collection site will be relocated to Paiyun Visitor Center with reduced capacity, thereby promoting bringing trash down the mountains, hoping to accomplish garbage reduction.

The YSNPH has already hung up flags saying “Respect Mountains, Love Mountains, Leave No Trash in Mountains” at public toilets, parking lots, and cooking areas of the Tataka Recreation Area starting from April 1st of this year (2020). The dumpsters at present are also hung up with obvious slogans of “Cherish the environment, please bring your trash down the mountains” since last year (2019), while promotional posters are placed in bathrooms and on bulletin boards…etc. as a forecast to visitors, as well as to cultivate the concept to the visitors. After the program is officially activated in June, work staff and volunteers will be allocated to the parking lots and the toilets to promote the concept to visitors (group visitors or individual visitors); a penalty will be issued according to the National Park rules if visitors are found to throw garbage randomly. We urge all visitors to collaborate and let us jointly strive towards the beautiful goal of “Love Mountains, Respect & Clean Mountain” by not leaving trash behind in the mountains!