Sat, Apr 03, 2010 - Page 2 News List

Taipei to put drugs collection boxes in 219 pharmacies

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Taipei City Government yesterday announced that it would set up drug disposal boxes at 219 pharmacies to reduce the environmental pollution caused by disused pills.

The collection of disposed pills is a collaborative effort between Taipei City’s Department of Health, Department of Environmental Protection and local pharmacies to recycle highly polluting substances more effectively.

Allen Chiu (邱文祥), commissioner of the Health Department, said unwanted drugs and other medical supplies such as needles were sent to collection sites in the past.

The new method will collect discarded drugs more effectively to ensure they are dealt with in an environmentally friendly way.

Under the new program, people should take unused or unwanted pills to local pharmacies with one of the disposal boxes. The Department of Environmental Protection will visit the pharmacies to collect the waste regularly.

Environmental Protection Department Commissioner Ni Shih-piao (倪世標) said that drugs and medical supplies would be recycled or handled according to standard procedures before being sent to the collection sites.

Statistics from the Union of Pharmacists Association showed that more than 61 percent of the population had thrown unused or unwanted pills into trashcans, while 4.3 percent flushed pills down toilets.

A total of 16.2 percent of the population took the pills to pharmacies or hospitals for recycling, the statistics said.

Ni said the disposal of unused pills in toilets contributed to a high concentration of antibiotics in the nation’s rivers, which is a great health threat to both fish and humans.

For a list of local pharmacies with drugs disposal boxes, one can visit the Health Department Web site or call Taipei Citizen Hotline at 1999 ext. 7105.

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