The Environmental Protection Administration urged the public yesterday not to flush toilet paper.
Wang Yue-bin (王嶽斌), a section chief with the Water Quality Protection division, made the remarks in response to a campaign launched by the Tainan City Government earlier this week encouraging the public to flush toilet paper as a way to cut disposal costs.
The city’s Environmental Protection Bureau held a press conference on Monday to unveil the results of a study showing that the nation uses 340 tonnes of toilet paper each day.
As used toilet paper cannot be recycled, it must be disposed of through treatment that costs about NT$4,600 per tonne. This costs the nation about NT$600 million (US$20 million) per year, the bureau said.
In response, Wang said that although toilet paper does dissolve in water and that flushing it could cut the nation’s treatment costs, there were negative aspects that outweighed this argument.
Much of the public does not know which toilet papers can be flushed and which papers are too thick and could cause clogging, he said.
In addition, only about 18 percent of toilets feed into sewage treatment systems. If toilet paper is flushed down the other 82 percent of toilets, it flows directly into rivers and other waterways and increases pollution, he said.
Many proponents of flushing toilet paper cite Japan as an example of the benefits of disposing of the paper in this way, he said. The problem is that toilet paper in Japan is made of recycled paper, whereas in Taiwan toilet paper has longer fibers that do not dissolve as quickly, he said.
Japanese toilet paper is also much thinner, while in Taiwan thin toilet paper is considered to be poor quality and doesn’t sell very well, Wang said.
Chou Chun-ti (周春娣), chairwoman of the Conservation Mothers Foundation, echoed Wang’s statement, saying that most of the nation’s toilets and plumbing were not up to par, making them easily clogged.
Chou said she was not against promoting the concept of flushing toilet paper, but that it should only be done in areas where toilets are connected to sewage treatment centers to avoid increasing water pollution.
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