Taiwan government urged to address microplastics via source reduction

Incentives for more eco-products and awareness are needed

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Microplastics (Photo by UN Environment - Caribbean Environment Programme)

Microplastics (Photo by UN Environment - Caribbean Environment Programme)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – In the wake of a study last month suggesting that 44 percent of tap water in Taiwan contains microplastics, the Research Bureau of the Legislative Yuan has proposed source reduction and incentives for development of products made with eco-materials to cut the plastics footprint.

Microplastics, defined as small plastic fragments less than five millimeters in size, have become a growing global concern as the pieces are starting to pollute the ocean and enter the food chain, posing health risks to people.

An investigation carried out by the Environmental Protection Agency earlier this year indicated that microplastics exist in Taiwan’s tap water, seawater, sand, gravel, and shellfish.

The agency called upon the government to address the issue through policy tools and education, especially in a country where the effort to cut down on the use of plastic bags has been inadequate and ineffective, reported CNA.

Stressing that it remains an unattainable ideal to completely ban plastic products due to its popularity among the public, the agency urged a more active role by the government to encourage the development of environmentally friendly products and incentives for businesses which work to turn PET bottles into reusable resources.

An intergovernmental task force should also be established to enforce the removal of plastic waste from Taiwan’s rivers, gutters, and waters – an initiative that could enlist the help of the private sector -- as well as continuous monitoring of the levels of microplastics that could end up in the human body, wrote the report.