Taiwan plans to become a model for environmental protection in Asia. Since 2002, most stores have been charging for plastic shopping bags. Taiwan is determined to completely ban plastics by 2030.
Most of Taiwan’s 23 million people have actively participated in the government’s campaign against plastics. Lai Yingying, director of the relevant department of the Taiwan Ministry of the Environment, said: “Since 2002, we have required large supermarkets and malls to charge plastic bags for shopping. As a result, the number of plastic bags has been reduced by half. Later, the government changed, and no new progress has been made. . Now we have resumed implementation and expanded to 7 other industries. For example, food stores, laundry and bookstores, etc. About 80,000 stores charge for plastic bags. We expect the number of plastic bags to drop by 50% again. “
Environmentalists think measures are not enough
Oliver Chen, an eco-organization association in Taiwan, thinks it’s easier said than done. He pointed out that Taiwan consumes 18 billion plastic bags per year, with more than 700 per capita. In addition, 4.6 billion plastic bottles, 3.1 billion straws, and 1.5 billion plastic cups are used each year, of which only 10% are reused.
The rest of the waste plastic is either removed, landfilled or dumped into the sea. The large-scale garbage collection on the coast, especially after a sperm whale strangled with plastic entangled on the coast of Taiwan in 2015, has increased residents’ environmental awareness. Oliver Chen said the most dangerous is the so-called nanoplastics, which are tiny plastic particles smaller than 0.05 mm. “People are increasingly aware that nanoplastics not only kill marine animals, but also endanger humans. In California, the United States, people tested mineral water in plastic bottles and found that 93% of the water was nanoparticle Pollution. People drink these particles with water and don’t know whether they can be discharged or stored in the body. “
from 2018, Taiwan no longer sell products made from the so-called nanoparticles, such as chemical fiber clothes, cosmetics, soap and toothpaste. Lai Yingying said that the movement is not based on bans but on rationality. “Consumers don’t want to pollute the environment. They know the problem, so we want stores, restaurants, and manufacturers to take the initiative to abandon these items.”
Taiwan launched a phased plan: from 2019, all restaurants will no longer use plastic straws, will eliminate disposable plastics from 2025, and completely stop selling these plastic products from 2030. However, the main problem is those convenience stores that are popular with bachelors. Everything they sell is packed in plastic bags. Are there other alternatives? Plastic straws make it easy to find alternatives: “You don’t have to use straws to drink tea. If you must, there are many glass, bamboo, and metal straws now.”
If someone has no such environmental awareness, they will be punished with a fine of 50 to 170 euros. But Oliver Chen believes that this is far from being reached. He believes that the government’s phased plan with the participation of environmental protection organizations has ambitious goals but can be implemented.
He said: “You can say we have been fooled. But we look at it this way: The reason we have been involved from the beginning is that we believe that as long as the government, the economic community and environmental groups work together Market the program to consumers. It may also be a model for other countries. “