The Tainan City Government announced that starting October 1, 2019, it will ban the use of uncoated styrofoam floats and buoys in an effort to protect oyster habitats in its amended “Tainan City Shallow Sea Oyster Habitat Management.” The ban would not only protect the oysters but also all other marine life.
The city will offer NT$30 for each styrofoam float turned in for recycling. The city hopes that the recycling bounty will encourage the community to replace the floats before the deadline.
Violators of the ordinance will be subject to fines of NT$10,000 (US$326) per shed, UDN reported.
Tainan Fishing Harbor and Coastal Fisheries Management Office director Chou Wang-li (周王黎) said that styrofoam has been a problem in the harbor and the organization is seeking alternative buoys to replace them. The organization is testing three types of environmentally-friendly buoys.
Chou said that one of the alternatives is a PE high-density plastic float that is common in the US and Europe for offshore farming and docks and is recyclable. The others being considered are a polymer composite coated styrofoam float and an EPP polypropylene float. The latter is lightweight and does not absorb water.
Uncoated styrofoam can easily break, polluting the water and damaging marine life. Fish, birds, and other marine life can ingest the small pieces of styrofoam. In late May a beached whale was found in Thailand with its stomach full of plastic waste.