☀️ This summer’s record-breaking high temperatures have made it a daily routine for many people to buy drinks to quench their thirst. According to statistics, however, Taiwan produces up to 1 billion bottles of water a year, which by connecting can circle the Earth 5.7 times. Even though the recycling rate in Taiwan reaches 95%, 5% of the bottles that are not recycled will still cause serious environmental pollution.
♻️ In this year’s President Hackathon, an outstanding team named “CircuPlus Tea-Serving Operation” combined tea serving culture and mass participation and put forward an action plan for plastic reduction that impressed me deeply.
🍵 Initiator of the Team, Weicheng Huang, said he witnessed endless plastic bottles when he participated in a beach-cleaning activity a few years ago, causing him to reflect deeply on how to get rid of bottle-buying habit. Huang recalls the tradition of serving tea. Free tea can be seen in temples and roadside, which is a manifestation of Taiwan’s human touch.
📲 Huang and his friends decided to develop an “Water Refill Map” app for locating drinking points in Taiwan. If one doesn’t have to buy water to relieve thirst, people with environmental ideas will be willing to join in. However, at the beginning of the implementation, due to the lack of staff, they could not map out location data of all drinking spots. Meantime, in the context of the epidemic this year, many water stations have been suspended, which made the data collection inaccurate and the promotion not reaching expectation for a certain period.
🎉 The team signed up for the Presidential Hackathon in February this year, and the problem was then solved.
🗂 Thanks to the Presidential Hackathon platform, the Water Refill Map team began collaborating with the Environmental Protection Agency. In the spirit of open access to information, the Agency immediately coordinated environmental protection bureaus in various counties and cities to collect data of all drinking water stations, thus enabling the tea-serving team to take the first step.
📝 Apart from the existing documentation on drinking water stations, the team also initiated multilateral cooperation through the wisdom of the local population, inviting enterprises, friendly shops and general public to share information on drinking water stations; Whenever users see a new drinking station, they can voluntarily add “refreshments”, or rate and add instructions after using a drinking station.
🎁 In addition, the Water Refill Map offers various tasks, such as drinking water for one gold coin per day, or going to a tea shop in Dadaocheng business cluster to get 50 gold coins. Rewards of these task can be redeemed for free at shops in partnership.
🚀 Through providing games and giving feedback to users, it becomes easier to increase their willingness to use the App, which makes data more accurate. Since its launch half a year ago, “Tea Serving” has accumulated more than 6,000 water access points and 20,000 downloads, and was recently selected as the Presidential Hackathon Outstanding Team of the year.
🏆 In my opinion, we can attribute the success of the Water Refill Map campaign to thoughtful public-private partnership. The Environmental Protection Agency as public sector, companies and App users as the private sector and all stakeholders in the society work together to help the enterprising team implement innovative environmental action plans.
🌊 In addition to the tea serving supervised from the root, another team participating in Presidential Hackathon is working on improving the end-of-waste problem. The “Beyond Sea and Sky” Team, initiated by the Ocean Council, uses a distributed account book to record the process of marine waste cleaning, recycling, factory processing and returning to the hands of consumers. It can not only find the marine waste hot spots, but also ensure the proper use of materials, fully demonstrating the spirit of “salute to the sea”.
💧 The combination of digital technology and social innovation has brought together energy that was once scattered throughout society, making sustainable thinking and daily life mostly connected to our waters.