The southwest coast is the largest oyster breeding area in Taiwan. The aquaculture in this region is worth a small fortune to the local farmers. They also feature in many traditional Taiwanese dishes. It might seem that all it takes for people to enjoy these oysters is a few dollars, but the underlying cost is much more.
The oyster farming industry consumes a huge amount of styrofoam blocks, which are cheap and accessible, for setting oyster racks. These styrofoam blocks generally last about 2 to 3 years before they start to breakdown into pieces. The majority of this debris eventually ends up being washed ashore, and this phenomena has led some environmentalists to believe that the styrofoam blocks used by oyster farmers are already having a harmful impact on the local environment.
Furthermore, some environmentalists claim that the styrofoam waste is not only a local crisis but is also polluting at a global scale. The nondegradable, light weight compounds could already have been carried around the world by the seasonal winds and ocean currents. This implies that these substances have most likely been ingested by marine creatures, and thus manifesting its way to the top of food chain: the humans. As a result, the waste could seriously affect human health if one eats any contaminated seafood.