Indonesian workers keep old Taichung clean

2018/04/11 20:10:28 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Photo courtesy of Pindy

Photo courtesy of Pindy

Taipei, April 11 (CNA) A group of Indonesian workers have launched a monthly event to clean up an old district in Taichung, central Taiwan, in an effort to both raise environmental awareness and reverse local people's stereotype that migrant workers are not civic-minded.

"We want to find a way to contribute to society because Taiwan is our second home," said Pindy, who started the campaign in March in the city's Central District, a decaying neighborhood that has suffered from pollution as urban development has sprawled westward in recent years.

Pindy (Center)/photo courtesy of Pindy

She said the program, which takes place on the first Sunday of each month, brings together around 30 Indonesian volunteers each time to clean up the district, starting from ASEAN Square, a renowned hangout spot for Southeast Asian migrant workers.

The trash-collecting route runs along the newly renovated Lyu-Chuan, a 6.1-kilometer canal that passes through central Taichung, and finishes at Taichung Park.

As the waterway has seen a surge in tourist numbers due to various exhibitions and light shows held there since February, Pindy said she and her partners have also helped keep public order by asking people not to litter or sit on the grass.

"Southeast Asians also like to keep their environment clean and tidy," said the 34-year-old, who came to Taiwan eight years ago and found that it takes real action to erase the negative image of migrant workers.

The clean-up did not go very smoothly at the beginning as some people, regardless of their nationality, were upset at being corrected, she said.

But over time, their campaign has become known by many local people, who have helped spread the word.

"We were very surprised and thankful for the help from the Indonesian group to allow everyone to live in a better environment," said Lin Li-hsiung (林豊雄), deputy chief engineer of the city's Water Resources Bureau.

Pindy said she is hoping to reach out to migrant worker communities from other countries as well, so that they can work together to better integrate into Taiwanese society.

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)
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