Mon, Jun 12, 2017 - Page 3 News List

EPA budgets NT$1.2bn to improve public toilets

FLUSHING RECOMMENDED:Improvements such as odor elimination and water-soluble toilet paper should improve the nation’s image, the environment minister said

By Yang Mien-jieh and Chen Bing-hung  /  Staff reporters

The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) is planning improvements to 4,000 public toilets over the next four years at an expected cost of NT$1.2 billion (US$39.9 million), EPA Minister Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) said in an interview with the Liberty Times (the sister newspaper of Taipei Times).

The EPA is to seek budget approval in a proposal submitted to the National Development Council, Lee said.

The EPA last month announced a change to a policy that prohibited flushing toilet paper because of septic system limitations.

However, some local governments have expressed difficulty implementing the new regulations.

In Taipei, half of the toilet paper in use cannot be disposed of in toilets.

With the Taipei Universiade in August, public toilets should be improved to prevent creating a bad impression of the city on foreign visitors, Lee said.

Improving public toilets should be a priority for Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), he said.

From next month, the EPA is to check whether pubic toilets have signs advising people to flush toilet paper rather than placing it in garbage bins, Department of Environmental Sanitation and Toxic Substance Management Director Yuan Shao-ying (袁紹英) said.

If some toilet buildings cannot be upgraded to implement the policy, signs telling people to use garbage bins for toilet paper disposal to avoid clogging pipes should be posted, Yuan said.

Facilities that need to be upgraded should be improved within a given time frame to avoid fines from NT$1,200 to NT$6,000 according to the Waste Disposal Act (廢棄物清理法), he said.

Government agencies should improve their public toilets as soon as possible, Yuan said, adding that the EPA would create a budget for the improvement of its public toilets within the next year.

The improvements should involve the elimination of odors, the improvement of slippery and dirty surroundings and the use of water-soluble toilet paper, he said.

Since 2008, the EPA has been promoting plans to upgrade the nation’s public toilets.

Some facilities failed to achieve an “excellence” certification because of messy pipes, he said, adding that they are the EPA’s primary target for improvement.

Toilets in tourist areas and transportation hubs are also targets for improvement, he added.

Local governments can submit their own suggestions on how to improve facilities, Yuan said, adding that the EPA would take them into account in their budget plan next year.

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