People who improperly dispose of sandbags will face fines of between NT$1,200 and NT$6,000 for violating the Waste Disposal Act (廢棄物清理法), environmental protection authorities said.
Wu Tien-chi (吳天基), an Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) official in charge of waste management, drew attention to the fines after receiving reports from city and county authorities that sandbags had been dumped on roadsides after Tropical Storm Talim passed Taiwan on Wednesday last week.
“People should properly store sandbags for future use,” Wu said.
Those who are not able to store sandbags should return them to the government units that distributed them as an anti-flood precaution, he said.
In the past week, hundreds of thousands of sandbags were given away by local governments as Talim approached and the Central Weather Bureau warned of heavy rainfall.
Eagerly collected by worried residents before the storm, the bags have since become a nuisance, with many people dumping them at the sides of roads.
“They were purchased with taxpayers’ money. People should refrain from creating such waste,” a district chief in Greater Tainan said.
Greater Tainan Water Resources Bureau Director Lee Meng-yen (李孟諺) said that every year the city government allocates funds to buy sandbags, adding that so far this year the city has given away 170,000 sandbags worth about NT$1.7 million (US$56,800).
Saying that sandbags are easily ruptured if left outdoors without protection, National Cheng Kung University’s Department of Hydraulic and Ocean Engineering head Jan Chyan-deng (詹錢登) added that ruptured sandbags could leak sand into the drainage system, where it would combine with rotting organic matter to become a solid mass that could block the system.