Taipei City Councilor Hsu Shu-hua (許淑華) on Thursday called on the city government to include plastic bags in its list of single-use items that are banned from schools and other city institutions, saying that 6,885 tonnes of plastic bags a year are left unrecycled in Taipei, causing pollution.
Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) promised to make the recycling of plastic bags a priority for the city government.
Plastic bags do not decompose in nature and when they are burned, they release dioxins if not properly handled, Hsu said.
Taiwanese use 18 billion plastic bags per year, an average of 782 per person, Hsu said, adding that this is 3.9 times as high as the EU average of 198 per person.
Hsu said that 6,913 tonnes of plastic bags are used in Taipei every year, with only 27 tonnes recycled, adding that if burning one plastic bag generates 57g of carbon dioxide, then 6,885 tonnes of plastic bags would generate 120,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
The city would have to plant an additional 10 million trees just to process that much carbon dioxide, Hsu said.
In light of the Environmental Protection Administration considering policies that would forbid plastic bags being provided for free, Hsu said the city government should also place more emphasis on restricting the use of plastic bags.
Hsu also called for increased recycling of plastic bags by the city government, adding that recycling collection should happen daily instead of twice per week.
The city’s Environmental Protection Bureau Director Liu Wen-lung (劉文龍) said that the bureau plans to discuss whether plastic bags were to be listed as single-use items, adding that the bureau is assessing the need for an autonomous legislation on plastic bag recycling.
Plastic bags can also be used as trash bags, Liu said, adding that he has already asked cleaning crews to step up efforts to promote recycling plastic bags in communities across the municipality.
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