The Environmental Protection Administration is drafting a new law on recycling, mapping out a 10-year policy to treat waste products as resources and simultaneously reduce waste, officials said Nov. 15.
According to the EPA, the law will combine the existing Waste Disposal Act and Resources Recycling Act. The move comes partly in response to a proposed amendment highlighted at the Conference of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, which wrapped up in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, Oct. 21.
Lai Ying-ying, deputy director of the EPA’s Department of Waste Disposal, said the Basel Convention, an international treaty designed to reduce the movement of hazardous waste between nations, came into effect in 1992 with 178 signatories.
With the transport of toxic wastes increasing in severity, a revision to the convention, known as the Ban Amendment, has been introduced to prohibit all exports of hazardous wastes, including old electronics, obsolete ships, discarded computers and mobile phones, from developed countries to less developed ones. International nongovernmental organizations expect the ban to come into force within two to three years when sufficient numbers of parties to the convention ratify it.
Although Taiwan is not a party to the United Nations treaty, the Ban Amendment is expected to impact the private sector and challenge the government as the convention involves importing and exporting countries as well as countries of transit.
“Both government and corporations will have to play a greater role and prepare an early response,” Lai said.
As of August, recycling rates for Taiwan’s industrial waste and household garbage had reached 80 percent and 50 percent, respectively, according to the EPA. While these figures represent significant progress, the amount of recycling and the scope of materials covered must be increased, Lai said, adding that heavier penalties for knowing violators are also needed. (PCT-THN)