Eco Echo Award Spurs Environmental Action In Taiwan
Semiconductor foundry United Microelectronics Corp., based in northern Taiwan’s Hsinchu City, is fulfilling its corporate social responsibility and encouraging ecological conservation via the Eco Echo Award.
Started in 2016, the award has honored 29 projects by nongovernmental organizations to date. High school students and university freshmen are eligible to enter the competition, with 10 selected as winners to date. Total prize money per year has increased threefold to reach NT$3 million (US$107,000) in the 2021 edition.
A notable award recipient is Yi Hsin Community Development Association in the central county of Nantou. It was recognized in 2019 for efforts to protect Taiwan’s white minnow, an endemic species officially declared endangered in 2009.
The water quality of a relocation pond for the minnows is assessed by a YHCDA member. (Staff photo / Chin Hung-hao)
The organization began conserving the minnow in 2013 by digging relocation ponds as temporary shelters for the at-risk fish. On the back of this commitment and dedication, as well as recognition by UMC and guidance from government agricultural experts, the species is coming back from the brink in Nantou.
Lin Yu-tseng, chairwoman of YHCDA, said winning the award greatly boosted the morale of the association. The prize money has been of great help in enabling us to buy a top-of-the-line water quality detector, too, she added.
The award is also a great source of encouragement and support to the Foundation of Pescadores Citizens in outlying Penghu County, an archipelago in the Taiwan Strait. The NGO has won the honor three years in a row since 2018 for action taken to protect local marine ecology.
Penghu’s inner sea is again thriving with coral reefs thanks to initiatives advanced by Foundation of Pescadores Citizens. (Courtesy of FPC)
FPC stands out especially for attempts to restore coral reefs, having planted more than 3,000 coral fragments in Penghu’s inner sea over the past four years.
Chen Yi-jun, a project specialist with FPC, said coral reef systems are often thought of as the rain forests of the ocean because they support a high level of biodiversity. UMC’s recognition of outstanding ecological projects ensures much needed attention from the public, she said.
Organizations behind such efforts have limits to their human and financial resources, Chen said, adding that the publicity brought by the award helps those resources go much further and enhance the impact of the mission. (E) (By Oscar Chung)
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College students in Penghu assist FPC prepare coral fragments to be fixed to the ocean floor. (Courtesy of FPC)