…as they went from ‘garbage is­land’ to one of the clean­est in the world

Swazi Observer - - NATIONAL NEWS - By Mphikeleli Msibi

MBA­BANE – GO to Tai­wan and you will see how they man­age the art of deal­ing garbage.

I was per­son­ally im­pressed on learn­ing how they do it. I no­ticed ev­ery house­hold does not put its garbage bag at the street cor­ner; in fact, Tai­wanese hold their garbage bags, stand by the road­side and throw their own garbage bags into the garbage-col­lect­ing trucks.

No won­der the coun­try is so clean and hon­estly, when I say they know no garbage, I just mean that. It’s just a breath of fresh air. I also like the fact that it has not al­ways been like this. They had to come up with strate­gies to make the coun­try what it is to­day in terms of cleanliness and deal­ing with garbage.

I was told there were a lot of garbage pickup spots around Taipei, Tai­wan’s cap­i­tal that trucks visit five nights a week. You wake up in the morn­ing, there is no garbage.

No one tells them its time but in­stead there are sig­nals to the sur­round­ing com­mu­nity that it’s time to move out onto the street in prepa­ra­tion.

Then you see a big yel­low truck ap­pear, al­ways fol­lowed by a smaller white cart. The yel­low truck is for gen­eral trash and the white cart has a set of bins used to cat­e­gorise re­cy­clable ma­te­ri­als. There’s one for glass, pa­per, card­board, cans and plas­tic.


There’s even a bin for raw food waste and one for cooked food waste. Re­cy­cling com­pa­nies process the raw food waste into fer­tiliser for farm­ers, and the cooked food waste into food for farm an­i­mals.

Vol­un­teers and of­fi­cials stand on the back of the re­cy­cling truck ready to help peo­ple sort their re­cy­clables cor­rectly. One by one, ev­ery­one throws their small amount per­sonal garbage into the cor­rect truck, and re­turn home to con­tinue on with the day.

They just do a lot to make sure the coun­try is al­ways clean. Judg­ing from what they do, they can never go wrong in as far as main­tain­ing cleanliness is con­cerned.

In 1996 Tai­wan Gov­ern­ment made a ‘Keep trash off the ground’ Pro­gramme and this is why they throw their own garbage bags into the garbage-col­lect­ing trucks.

When they tell you how they started this, you are re­ally shocked at how they have man­aged to turn things around af­ter they were once dubbed as a ‘garbage is­land’.

There were huge dump­sters and loose trash on the streets such that they were run­ning out of space to put their waste.

It is clear Tai­wan’s pre­vi­ous big­gest prob­lem is now its big­gest as­set, due to the im­ple­men-

tation of these ad­vanced waste man­age­ment prac­tices.

The Tai­wanese buy gov­ern­ment des­ig­nated bags to put their garbage in and throw it into garage col­lect­ing trucks and fail­ure to do so, you re­ceive a fine of 1 200 Tai­wan dol­lars (ap­prox­i­mate E522).

It means if a house­hold or a shop gen­er­ates more garbage they should pay more for their waste. The Tai­wanese are made to dis­tin­guish dif­fer­ent types of garbage, for metal can, plas­tic prod­ucts they need to throw to re­cy­cle trucks in­stead of throw­ing into nor­mal garbage col­lect­ing trucks.

Then in 1997, the Tai­wan En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Bureau in­tro­duced the ‘Waste Man­age­ment Law ‘which made

plans to re­cy­cle the waste and made sub­sidy to en­cour­age in­dus­tries to re­cy­cle used prod­ucts.


Re­cy­cling is free and can be brought to the truck in any kind of bag and this is what en­cour­ages peo­ple to re­cy­cle more and pro­duce less trash.

As a re­sult, Tai­wan’s com­mu­ni­ties have learned to be very thought­ful and con­sid­er­ate with their con­sump­tive prac­tices. The Tai­wanese gov­ern­ment has suc­cess­fully slashed the daily house­hold waste ac­cu­mu­la­tion from 1.14 kg to a mere 0.43 kg.

The peo­ple there pay for plas­tic bags in the shops so most of them al­ways carry their own shop­ping bags when they do shop­ping. I think as Swazis we should also adopt the idea of car­ry­ing our bags when go­ing to shop. It helps a great deal in as far as plas­tic and waste man­age­ment is con­cerned.

Due to this suc­cess­ful garbage re­cy­cle plan, they suc­cess­fully re­duced 58 per cent of their gen­eral garbage in 2011.

You should also be aware, they are the first coun­try to set up the re­cy­cle scheme and fac­to­ries for four elec­tronic prod­ucts (TV, laun­dry ma­chine, air con­di­tioner and PC re­lated prod­ucts).

In 2011 Tai­wan had a 48.8 per cent re­cy­cle rate of these above four used prod­ucts which is al­ready over the EU 45 per cent re­cy­cle rate set up for the year of 2016.

(Cour­tesy pics)

CLEANLINESS FIRST: This is how the Tai­wanese deal with garbage.

IN WAIT­ING: Tai­wanese pa­tiently wait for the garbage truck.

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