Foreigners’ environmental missteps overlooked: DPP

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

Sat, Apr 13, 2013 - Page 3

Taipei City’s Department of Environmental Protection treats foreign residents more favorably when enforcing environmental protection regulations, a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councilor said yesterday, accusing the department of failing to fine a foreigner who did not clean up his dog’s droppings on the street.

In a question-and-answer session at the Taipei City Council, DPP Taipei City Councilor Lin Shih-tsung (林世宗) showed a video clip of a foreigner walking his dog in Tianmu and failing to clean up the droppings, and said the neighborhood’s borough chief had received numerous complaints about the dog owner from residents about six months ago.

The department’s environment inspection team has ignored the complaints and told the residents that there was nothing they can do as the dog owner is a foreigner, Lin said.

“Local residents are concerned about the area’s environment, and they presented video clips and other pieces of evidence to the department. However, the problem has yet to be resolved,” he said.

Department Commissioner Wu Sheng-chung (吳盛忠) dismissed the accusations and said environmental protection regulations also applied to foreigners.

Department Division Chief Chiu Kuan-hou (邱寬厚) said an inspection team had fined the foreign dog owner NT$1,200 on March 16 after receiving a complaint on March 13.

He dismissed Lin’s accusations that the department adopted double standards for foreigners who violated regulations.

In order to prevent foreigners from avoiding the fines, the department has adopted regulations on the violation of Waste Disposal Act (廢棄物清理法) by foreign visitors or foreigners who are on short-term visas.

Foreign visitors, including those from China, that violate the regulation are required to pay the fines before they leave Taiwan.

The Tourism Bureau keeps a list of those who have failed to pay the fines, he said.