Mayor Calls for Reduction of Plastic Waste
On September 3, Mayor Ko Wen-je presented awards to elementary school students who delivered outstanding performances in a competition to reduce the use of plastics.Citing statistics, the mayor pointed out that as much as a truck-load of plastic garbage is dumped into the ocean every day. The microplastics will make their way into animals that eat ocean creatures through the food chain, thus having a significant impact on the health of human beings. According to Ko, his administration has been dedicated to implementing environmental protection policies since he assumed office, with the belief that eco-consciousness is a cornerstone of a civilized society. Over the past three years, the city government has taken steps to ban the use of disposable and melamine utensils, a policy that began at the City Hall and has been actively promoted across the private sector. To date, the city government – with approximately 6,000 staff members – has seen the reduction of paper waste by 75% and plastic waste by 65%.Ko added that the City also faces the challenge of air pollution, with the PM2.5 concentration levels currently standing at 17 as a result of waste incineration. He hopes to bring the level down to 15 by continuing to reduce the amount of garbage. To set an example, the mayor remarked he has asked staff members not to offer him bottled water when he is obliged to attend activities. He also pledged to promote the City’s policy of discouraging the burning of joss paper in traditional worship ceremonies as a way to improve air quality.