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Taiwan: Fines for Cigarette Littering to Be Increased in Taipei

(Apr. 9, 2015) The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) of the Taipei City government announced on April 4, 2015, that in order to reduce acts of littering with cigarette butts, it would raise the fines for repeat offenders. The department also plans to coordinate with the Taipei Department of Health, the Urban Development Department, and other agencies in requiring managers of office buildings, shopping malls, and tourist site exits to install ashtray receptacles and to increase patrols of such “hot spots” for cigarette butt littering. (Abraham Gerber, Taipei Authorities Boosting Fines for Cigarette Butt Litter, TAIPEI TIMES (Apr. 7, 2015).)

At present, under Taiwan’s Waste Disposal Act, the fine for littering is NT1,200 (about US$39) for each offense, no matter how many times the offender has been charged with the act. (Waste Disposal Act (as last amended May 29, 2013), arts. 27 & 50, Laws & Regulations Database of the Republic of China [toggle for Chinese text].) According to the Taipei DEP, “more than half the fines it levies” comes from cigarette butt littering. (Gerber, supra.)

After revision of the penalty standards, the fine for a first littering offense would remain the same, but if a second offense occurs within a year, the fine would be tripled to NT3,600. A third violation of the law would without exception incur a penalty of NT5,000, and the offender would be required to attend lectures on the environment to improve his or her attitude towards protecting it. (For Acts of Cigarette Butt Littering the Department of Environmental Protection Is Planning Heavier Sanctions, Department of Environmental Protection, Taipei City Government website (Apr. 4, 2015) (in Chinese).)

DEP Commissioner Liou Ming-lone was quoted as saying “that while the city government has the power under the Waste Disposal Act …to unilaterally increase fines without first seeking Taipei City Council approval, the details and timeline of increased enforcement efforts have not been finalized.” (Gerber, supra.)