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Efforts to Remove Garbage from Rivers Yields Good Results

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Efforts to remove garbage from rivers by Taiwan’s 22 city and county governments, the ten River Management Offices of the Water Resources Agency of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, and the seventeen Management Offices of the Irrigation Agency of the Council of Agriculture (COA) have yielded good results in 2021. 12,865 instances of garbage removal and 11,265 inspections were carried out by all agencies resulting in a total of 9,650 metric tons of garbage removed. Among the garbage, bags of garbage and plastics made up the bulk of human-generated garbage and accounted for 299 metric tons.

As the guardian of river water quality and environments, since 2018 the EPA has been urging ministries and relevant agencies of local governments to conduct garbage interception and removal from rivers to prevent garbage from flowing into the ocean. Removal management mechanisms were established to systematically clear and manage garbage from rivers. Annual garbage removal audit plans were also carried out to enhance the efficiency of removal. Aspects that are audited include garbage removal operations, inspection operations, and river cleaning activities.

In the annual audit of 2021, a total of twelve agencies received high distinction awards and ten agencies received excellence awards. Among those receiving high distinction awards were Taipei City, Tainan City, Hsinchu City, Changhua County, Kinmen County, Pingtung County, Hualien County, Taitung County, the Second, Third and Fourth River Management Offices of the WRA, and the Hsinchu Management Office of the Irrigation Agency, COA.

At present, manual removal or interception nets are employed by the majority of counties and cities in removal operations while interception ropes, boats and mechanized equipment are also used as auxiliary tools. The ecological diversity and the wide range of water environments in Taiwan make cross-ministerial cooperation necessary in maintaining cleanliness of rivers. Also for that purpose, the EPA summons county and city governments, the WRA, and the Irrigation Agency to annual meetings every year to constantly upgrade management mechanisms. This year, the EPA planned to conduct audits, achievement sharing and award events, as well as the annual meeting to share and discuss results gathered from the past year. The management mindsets of the participants were further strengthened through sharing experiences across agencies, exchanges between groups and on-site visits.

The EPA calls for all citizens to follow a green lifestyle in which the recycling and reprocessing of garbage can reduce the garbage that flows into rivers and the ocean, and urges the public to reduce the use of single-use products so as to reduce waste and make river environments more pleasant.

Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, May 2022

Ministry of Environment