Sat, May 11, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Control Yuan chastises EPA over plastic

MORE POLLUTION:The Control Yuan’s Chang Wu-shou said that the Cabinet must improve collaboration among agencies to help tackle waste entering the oceans

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Control Yuan member Chang Wu-shou points to a photograph of a turtle entwined in a fishing net at a news conference at the Control Yuan in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times

The Control Yuan yesterday said that the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) has failed to reduce plastic pollution, despite reduction policies since 2002, and asked it to improve its waste disposal scheme.

Marine garbage affects nearly 80 percent of water around the nation, with plastic making up 66.3 percent of the waste, Control Yuan member Chang Wu-shou (張武修) told a news conference in Taipei.

While the EPA in 2002 began implementing policies to limit the use of plastic, in 2006 it loosened regulations for catering businesses, delaying a ban on plastic bags, Chang said.

Recycling of plastic bags has been inadequate due to a lack of firms able to dispose of them and a shortage of incentives to promote a circular economy, he said.

Production and consumption of plastic bags over the past 10 years has risen steadily, showing that the EPA is derelict in its duties, he said.

The Cabinet must improve cross-agency collaboration by boosting the involvement of the Ocean Conservation Administration (OCA) and the Fisheries Agency, which are tasked with tackling marine pollution and waste fishing gear, he said.

EPA Department of Waste Management Director-General Lai Ying-ying (賴瑩瑩) said that the agency would improve its plastics reduction policy.

It would promote recycling of used and dirty plastics bags, as they can be used in alternative fuels, Lai said.

As for cleaner plastic bags, they can be used to make more bags or flower pots, with about nine firms able to contribute, she said.

From next month, the EPA would select hypermarkets to demonstrate a plastic bag recycling project, while in July or August it would also release draft guidelines for e-commerce platforms to cut unnecessary packaging, she said.

Separately yesterday, OCA Director-General Huang Hsiang-wen (黃向文) said that the agency has filed with the Executive Yuan a four-year proposal from next year to survey, monitor and clean ocean pollution.

In addition to collaboration with other government agencies and non-governmental groups, it is also increasing interaction with US, European and Southeast Asian experts to improve its response to marine pollution, Huang said.

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