Sun, Nov 11, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Environment patrol to spy on litterbugs with video cameras

By Meggie Lu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Habitual litterers would do well to turn over a new leaf, as Taipei police may soon be spying on litterbugs across the city.

The city's Bureau of Environmental Protection is planning on setting up a network of video cameras around the city to catch litterers red-handed.

"The city has 100 staff on a patrol squad," bureau section chief Jiang Ching-hui (江慶輝) told the Taipei Times. "We want to use the video cameras to help maximize our manpower."

Guards will boost their monitoring with the help of two or three cameras each, located across a patrol's regular beat. If an offender is caught on screen, the patrol will head over to the area to fine the litterbug, Jiang said.

The current fine for littering is between NT$1,200 and NT$6,000. But the bureau is considering increasing the fine for "resource-intensive" cases, Jiang said, citing night-time littering as an example.

The bureau also encourages residents to report litterbugs and offers rewards, Jiang said.

"We mainly want to stop littering, [people who] drop cigarette butts and ads posted illegally in public places," he said.

The plan has drawn mixed reactions. While some residents welcome the effort to clean up the city, others feel the cameras are an invasion of their privacy.

The bureau has identified 150 sites around the city where littering is most common and will install cameras there, Deputy Director Kuo Yung (郭勇) said.

"The NT$5 million budget for the project has already been approved," he said. "We will implement the policy as early as the end of this year."

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