The number of trash bags littering Taipei’s streets has increased 80 percent from last year, the Taipei Department of Environmental Protection said, after it removed many public trash bins earlier this year.
The department in March began reducing the number of roadside trash bins in the city, from more than 3,000 to about 1,000, citing disease transmission concerns, as people were throwing masks or household trash in them.
However, the policy was questioned by many city councilors.
A Taipei City Research Development and Evaluation Commission survey released in September also showed that 74 percent of Taipei residents agreed there should be roadside trash bins, while 21 percent disagreed.
After the number of public trash bins was reduced, the number of trash bags found in the streets rose, the department said earlier this week, adding that while 4,284 trash bags were found from January to September last year, 7,714 were found over the same period this year — an increase of 80 percent.
The total fines imposed for these littering cases has reached about NT$9.78 million (US$339,030), higher than the NT$7.87 million imposed in the same period last year, the department added.
Among the city’s 12 administrative districts, the trash bag littering problem is more serious in Wanhua (萬華), Neihu (內湖) and Shilin (士林) districts, with imposed fines reaching millions of New Taiwan dollars from January to September in these three districts alone, it said.
The most serious littering problem was along Huanshan Road Sec 2 in Neihu District, as 145 trash bags were found in the streets in the first eight months of this year.
The department said that the section of road is near Taipei Municipal Lishan High School and pedestrian-only trash bins are installed there, so some people dispose of their household trash in them.
Other hot spots include Huanghe S Road Sec 3 in Wanhua District, Zhongxiao E Road Sec 5 in Hsinyi District (信義) and Roosevelt Road Sec 4 in Zhongzheng District (中正), especially near MRT railway stations, bus stops and shopping districts, it said.
Citing the broken windows theory, the department said that many people were likely encouraged to dispose of their household trash in roadside trash bins after they saw other people doing so.
The number of public trash bins in the city has now increased to 1,811, which might be adjusted in the future, the department said, adding that the number of trash bins installed near MRT stations, bus stops and shopping areas cannot be reduced, and might even have to be increased, but they easily become hot spots for littering.
As littering offenders could face a fine NT$1,200 to NT$6,000, the department encouraged people to report those who dispose of their trash bags in the streets, as they might receive 75 percent of the imposed fine as a reward.
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