Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers have called for government action on the issue of polystyrene foam waste littering the nation’s beaches.
Floaters made of polystyrene foam utilized by aquafarms, especially those cultivating oysters, are a major source of plastic pollution on the beach and coastal areas, DPP Legislator Wang Mei-hui (王美惠) told a meeting of the legislature’s Internal Administration Committee on Thursday.
The eco-friendly alternatives being promoted by the Council of Agriculture (COA) are expensive and farms that have adopted the new types of floaters were not offered assistance to dispose of old ones, leading to more plastic being dumped into the sea, she said.
Photo: Tsai Wen-chu, Taipei Times
The government needs to publish a roadmap for creating a polystyrene-free fishery industry in Tainan and Chiayi County for implementation in the next three years, DPP Legislator Chuang Jui-hsiung (莊瑞雄) said.
Aquafarmers need to know about the subsidies being offered for the plan to succeed, he added.
COA Deputy Minister Huang Chin-cheng (黃金城) said that the government has provided subsidies for the aquafarm sector to buy 60,000 non-frangible floaters and that other eco-friendly alternative fishing equipment is being promoted with subsidies.
The Fisheries Agency is phasing out the use of polystyrene foam in the fishing industry, and leftover or abandoned equipment are being collected and disposed of, he said.
Asked how much polystyrene foam the government has collected so far, Fisheries Agency Deputy Director-General Wang Cheng-fang (王正芳) said he did not know, but promised to report back to lawmakers at a later time.
Government agencies must improve their coordination and come up with better policies if the Executive Yuan is serious about the Ocean Taiwan program’s directive of ending plastic pollution, Wang Mei-hui said.
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