Data published by the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) suggest that the nation’s recycling rate last year was 58 percent, but the number is a gross overestimation, as millions of tonnes of trash and electronic waste disposed of by private waste collectors are not included in the government’s data, Taiwan Watch Institute secretary-general Herlin Hsieh (謝和霖) said yesterday.
Hsieh cited a report published last year in the Wall Street Journal titled “Taiwan: The World’s Geniuses of Garbage Disposal,” which praised Taiwan’s transformation from a “garbage island” to “an international poster child for recycling, boasting a recycling rate of 55 percent in 2015” — higher than the 35 percent rate in the US.
However, Taiwan’s seemingly impressive recycling rate conceals many hidden numbers, Hsieh said.
The nation’s environmental protection agencies reported that about 3 million tonnes of trash were incinerated last year, but its 24 trash incinerators received more than 4.2 million tonnes of trash, he said, adding that the gap between the two figures is widening.
The nation’s recycling rate is calculated by dividing the amount of recycled garbage by the total amount of garbage, but neither figure reflects reality, Hsieh said.
Trash disposed by informal and private collectors is not included in the total amount of garbage, yet the trash they recycle is included in the nation’s total recycling, Hsieh said, adding that because of this, the recycling rate seems high and appears to be rising.
Even worse, the organization found that some garbage collectors smuggled in electronic waste from other countries to benefit from recycling subsidies provided by the EPA, Hsieh said.
Members of the organization once went to a waste collector’s plant in Miaoli County and found more than 60,000 computer monitors piled up, he said, adding that the EPA could not even confirm the exact number of monitors.
“Figures are supposed to reflect reality, and identify and solve problems. They should be not used to embellish reality, cover up problems and pacify the public,” he said, adding that he was “warning” the EPA.
To improve its supervision of garbage collection and reduce the burden of cleaning, the government should consider launching a system of barcodes or quick-response codes that could be applied to reusable products, he said.
For instance, people should be offered drink cups for rent, for which they could pay using codes, just as they can rent public bicycles, he said.
OFFLINE: People who do not wish to register can get the money from select ATMs using their bank card, ID number and National Health Insurance card number Online registration for NT$6,000 (US$196.32) cash payments drawn from last year’s tax surplus is to open today for eligible people whose national ID or permanent residency number ends in either a zero or a one, the Ministry of Finance said on Monday. Officials from the ministry revealed which days Taiwanese and eligible foreigners would be able to register for the cash payments at a joint news conference with the Ministry of Digital Affairs. Online registration is to open tomorrow for those whose number ends in a two or three; on Friday for those that end in a four or five: on Saturday
TECH PROGRAM: A US official said that an important part of the delegation’s trip would be to meet with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co executives The US is to send officials in charge of chip development to Taiwan, Japan and South Korea to promote cooperation in the global semiconductor supply chain, the US Department of Commerce said on Tuesday. Chips Program Office Director Michael Schmidt announced the visit, which marks the first time officials from the office are to visit the three nations since it was set up in September last year. “As semiconductors and technologies continue to evolve, the United States will keep working with allies and partners to develop coordinated strategies to ensure that malign actors cannot use the latest technologies to undermine our collective
Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) officials are investigating why a Starlux Airlines flight to Penang, Malaysia, returned to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport nearly two hours after takeoff yesterday morning. The airline said in a statement that Flight JX721 to Penang took off from Taoyuan airport at 9:20am. “After the dashboard showed a signal of an abnormality in the hydraulic system, the captain followed standard operating procedures and returned the flight to Taoyuan airport for safety precautions,” the airline said, adding that the flight landed safely at the airport at 11:04am. The airline arranged for the passengers to have lunch after the flight landed and
WORKING UP AN APPETITE: Sales at the Rueifong Night Market surged 20 to 30 percent, while seats at Liouhe Night Market were packed until 1am, market officials said South Korean pop band Blackpink’s concerts over the weekend in Kaohsiung helped draw large crowds to local night markets, the Kaohsiung City Government said yesterday. The two concerts on Saturday and Sunday at Kaohsiung National Stadium drew more than 90,000 people. The city government offered NT$50 vouchers to spend locally to concertgoers who showed their ticket stubs. Liouhe Night Market (六合夜市) management committee head Chuang Chi-chang (莊其章) said that crowds over the weekend surged at about 10pm and the market remained packed until 1:30am. “Almost all the seats were filled,” Chuang said. Night market stall owners had stocked up in expectation of an increased number