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Students volunteer to clean streets after party

Fifty students from National Taipei University of Technology (NTUT, 台北科技大學) responded to the environmental call to action issued by United Smile (笑擁青年聯盟) to support the Department of Environmental Protection (DOEP,台北市環保局) in collecting garbage left during countdown celebration parties on New Year's Eve.

Wang Yu-cheng (王昱程), the president of the NTUT student government, helped organize the volunteer program, which focused on cleaning the environment around Xinyi District after the fireworks show at Taipei 101.

Wearing bright yellow vests, the students collected trash while singing NTUT's school song. Some passersby took pictures of the volunteers and joined them in their endeavor.

Wang said he wanted to express the concern of the younger generation about environmental problems as well as do something for the environment.

Lin Ting-chuen (林鼎淳), one of the volunteers, said that many people stared at them as they picked up garbage, and the right attitude about facing this gaze was important to the job. “Knowing that I am doing the right thing will motivate me to keep doing it,” said Lin.

NTUT instructor Chen Feng-lung (陳鳳隆) also participated in the volunteer program. Chen said he supported this action in the hopes that by picking up trash, students can better understand how their work can have a real effect on the world. However, Chen did not predict how passersby would respond to their actions. Chen pointed out that they will try to promote this kind of volunteer work on campuses in the future.

22.63 Tons of Garbage Collected

With the help of university volunteers and cleaning teams, the DOEP managed to clean a total quantity of 22.63 tons of garbage left during the New Year's countdown celebration before 2 a.m.

According to the DOEP, the department arranged three different methods for recycling garbage, including placing garbage cans around Xinyi District, sending cleaning teams and volunteers to collect garbage, and using bulk bags to load more garbage. All the trash cans were painted with the likeness of Yuanzai (圓仔), the famous baby giant panda. The DOEP said that they painted images of the popular panda baby in the hopes of reminding citizens not to litter.

The DOEP also said the amount of garbage increased this year, as more people joined in this year's countdown celebrations than in previous years. Among the total 22.63 tons of garbage, 6.73 tons could be recycled.

By cooperating with volunteers and cleaning teams, the DOEP has enabled Taipei City to welcome 2014 with a cleaner environment.

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