Public awareness of the need for environmental protection in Taiwan appears to be improving, with the Environmental Protection Administration revealing yesterday initial results of the newly enforced nationwide garbage separation laws (effective since Monday), with the rate of accepted garbage disposal reaching almost 84 percent.
With the exception of some rural areas in Tainan, Hualien and Taitung Counties, in which sources reported there were not enough garbage trucks to fulfill the tasks of "zero waste on the ground" and "thorough separation," most districts cooperated with the new policy, said the EPA.
Although minor quarrels between residents and garbage collectors occurred on Monday when residents holding garbage that was not separated into regular trash, kitchen waste and recyclables were refused disposal.
According to Ho Hsun-chin, director of the Department of Waste Management under the EPA, some residents considered unfinished plastic or paper-packaged lunch boxes as regular trash, when actually the plastic and paper containers should be separated as recyclables, and the unfinished food as kitchen waste.
Ho suggested that residents could ask for a detailed chart listing specific criteria on garbage separation at local environmental agencies and place it in their homes.
"It's important that residents themselves form a good habit (of separating garbage) rather than getting pinched by the trash collectors every time they come around," said Ho.
The EPA also pledged to assist local governments in purchasing more garbage collecting trucks to make weekly rounds in rural areas, daily waste disposal would be inconvenient and cost-ineffective, added the EPA.
The new EPA regulations stated that citizens who did not abide by the garbage separation policy would only be advised by local environmental agencies, since there is a three-month trial period for the policy to get on track. Starting April 1, those who still refuse to separate their garbage will face a fine of NT$1,200 to NT$6,000.
The EPA added that office and apartment buildings as well as schools and public facilities would be inspected more often during the three-month trial so as to firmly implement the new garbage separation policy.