Wed, Mar 18, 2009 - Page 2 News List

EPA plans fines for abandoners of potted plants

REAP WHAT YOU SOW Owners of plants that have cracked or leaky pots or those placed so they block traffic or occupy space on sidewalks will face fines

By Meggie Lu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Starting in July, people who place “poorly managed or unattended” potted plants in public areas will be fined between NT$1,200 to NT$6,000, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said yesterday. However, the EPA did not unveil clear guidelines as to the definition of “poorly managed” or whom the administration would fine if there were problems finding the plant’s owner.

“From March to June, the EPA’s inspection squad will patrol residential areas and ask anyone who places unsightly potted plants in public areas — such as sidewalks — to either clean up the plants or dispose of them. Starting on July 1, those who have been asked but fail to do so will face fines of between NT$1,200 and NT$6,000,” said Yuan Shaw-ying (袁紹英), director-general of the EPA Department of Environmental Sanitation and Toxic Substance Management.

In cases where no apparent owner can be found, a warning slip will be attached, he said. If no one claims the plant, it would be disposed of based on the Waste Disposal Act (廢棄物清理法).

Yuan said that the regulations would apply to those with unsightly or poorly managed plants, adding: “Other people do not need to worry about it. [Those who have offending plants] will be very clear on the matter, as it is easy to define whether a plant is well-managed.”

Plants with cracked pots, those that leak and dead plants would fit into the offending category, he said, adding that owners of plants that block traffic or occupy public sidewalks would also be penalized. Yuan said the regulation would only target plants in public areas.

“People can go home and read over their landholding certificates to make sure which parts are privately owned and which aren’t. We will not fine people whose plants are on private property,” he said.

The goal of the effort is two-fold, Yuan said.

“Not only can we clean up our cities, we can reduce mosquito-borne diseases, such as dengue fever,” he said.

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