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Growing number of plastic bags in Taiwan sparks concern

Reporter Vivian Hsiao
Release time:2024/02/20 15:49
Last update time:2024/02/20 15:49
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TAIPEI (TVBS News) — Amid growing environmental awareness, countries around the world have introduced policies to cut back on waste and plastic consumption.

However, a joint survey conducted by Greenpeace Taiwan and a team from National Cheng Kung University discovered that at least 1.8 billion pieces of plastic waste, weighing around 15,000 metric tons, are produced from the packaging of supermarket goods each year.

 

Among this number, the highest proportion of non-essential plastic packaging was for fruits and vegetables. The waste produced can fill about 4,443 garbage trucks.

Even so, vendors reveal the difficulty in cutting back on the packaging for fresh products. 

Chou Yu-ying, a product development manager at a brand chain that sells organic fruits and vegetables explained, “We sell a lot of organic leafy green, but because of the regulations for organic goods, it can't be sold without packaging or mixed with other products as there may be a risk of cross-contamination.”
 

Taiwan has been promoting the reduction of plastic shopping bags since 2002.  However, Taiwan uses an average of 9.17 billion plastic bags a year.

According to statistics, the average person in Taiwan uses 780 plastic bags per year, 4 times more than the EU average of 198.

Environmental organizations have since raised concerns, questioning the effectiveness of current policies in place.

"The Ministry of Environment's current measures are based on using prices to lower plastic consumption," Greenpeace East Asia Campaigner Chang Kai-ting said.

"In the 14 businesses listed, you can't offer it for free. In other words, you can still provide it for a price," she continued. 

"Under these measures, our usage is still very high. So, should we continue to raise the prices even higher to increase the cost of using it?"

In addition, environmental groups point out that the government remains hesitant to implement strict measures in traditional markets and smaller food stalls, culminating in disappointing results.
 

As awareness of climate change and environmental issues around the globe continues to rise, the Taiwanese government needs to roll out proactive measures to ensure the nation does not lag behind
 

The Taiwan Briefing

#Plastic bags#Taiwan#Environmental awareness#Plastic waste#Supermarkets#Packaging#Greenpeace Taiwan#Policy effectiveness#Government measures#Climate change
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