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Tue, Aug 01, 2000 - Page 2 News List

Recycling teams now overloaded with work

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Although Taipei City has seen a substantial decrease in garbage volume and increase in recycling over the past month since the city began its new garbage initiative on July 1, the city's garbage disposal and recycling workers are complaining about their increased workload.

According to the latest data released by the city's Bureau of Environmental Protection (BEP,環保局), over the past month -- from July 1 to July 30 -- a total of over 54,000 tonnes of garbage have been collected, or an average of 1,800 tonnes a day, a 39 percent decrease over the 1999 daily average volume.

A total of 6,252 tonnes of recyclables had been collected, or an average of about 208 tonnes a day. The recycling rate was over 10 percent, or a fourfold increase over the 1999 figure.

Despite the impressive figures, Lei Chao-shun (雷朝順), team captain of the city's Second Recycling Squad (資源回收二隊), said the substantial increase in volume of recyclables has created extra work that surpasses what his 140-member team can handle.

"They used to work from 3:30pm to midnight, but since July they have had to work between one and five extra hours, often until 2am or 3am the morning," he said.

The general public's ignorance about how to separate garbage from recyclables is the main cause of the problem, he said.

Lei added that although the city has employed 40 more people in the city's two recycling squads since July 1, he is still awaiting the BEP's decision over his request to employ 40 more people and purchase 12 more vehicles for the two teams.

The city currently has only one recycling center located at the Futekeng (福德坑) landfill in Mucha District.

The one in Shanchuku (山豬窟), Nankang District has been closed to make room for an urban development plan and is expected to relocated to the Tawantuan (大彎段) along the Keelung River in Neihu District by October.

Lin Tien-shou (林添壽), team captain of one of Wanhua Districts' six cleaning squads, agreed with Lei.

"We have to educate people again and again at each collecting site how to separate garbage from recyclables, as that takes up a lot of our time," he said.

According to Lin, his 40-person day shift and 10-person night shift people have to take care of 100 to 200 people at each stop, while they usually have only three to five minutes to spare. "We simply cannot handle it even we have a tenfold increase in manpower," he said.

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