Sun, Jun 08, 2008 - Page 2 News List

Taipei City planning chopstick ban later this month: official

DPA AND CNA

Taipei is to ban free, disposable chopsticks from 24-hour shops and supermarkets, an official said yesterday.

The Taipei City Government said that starting later this month, several 24-hour convenience shop and supermarket chains will stop giving away disposable chopsticks with packed food, lunch boxes and instant noodles. It hasn’t decided on the exact date yet when the measure will take effect.

Participants in the campaign are 7-Eleven, Family Mart, Circle K and Hi-Life 24-hour shop chains as well as supermarket chains Wellcome, Matsusei and Pxmart.

“These shops and supermarkets are taking the lead. We hope other shops, restaurants and roadside food stalls can follow suit and stop using disposable chopsticks,” said Su Fen-hui, from the city government’s environmental protection bureau.

According to the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA), Taiwan residents use 5 to 6 billion pairs of disposable wooden or bamboo chopsticks every year, creating five tonnes of garbage.

EPA has urged shops and supermarkets to stop giving away disposable chopsticks and called on restaurants to stop using them. People are also urged to carry “environmentally friendly” foldable chopsticks as they can be re-used.

Meanwhile, in other news, the Executive Yuan released yesterday its Taiwan sustainable development indicators compiled by the National Council for Sustainable Development Network. which showed that Taiwan’s living environment degenerated last year, despite improvements in many sectors, including reservoir quality and waste recycling.

Compared with the similar indicators applied to illustrate the country’s environmental sustainability in 2006, the report indicates that 15 of 41 indicators moved away from sustainability this year.

They include the carbon dioxide emission amount, water resources, garbage output per capita, the volume of public pollution petitions under government management and the pesticide consumption percentage of agricultural output in a year.

Other indicators, such as the death rate from cancer, the percentage of the central government’s general budget for environmental protection and biological preservation, as well as urban electricity consumption per capita, also show an increasing distance from the goal of sustainable development, the report said.

As improvements in environmental pollution control were offset by more serious ecological degradation, the report concluded that Taiwan had moved away from sustainable development.

The indicators were first produced in 2003 to serve as reference for environmental sustainability and seek improvement to the environment.

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