Sunday, 20 March 2016

Tainan City's Garbage Problem

I live in Tainan and the mayor of Tainan, William Lai, is apparently very popular - at least according to poll results reprinted in the media. How real that apparent popularity is, and whether or not it is justified are not what I want to get into here. My gut feeling is that both his popularity and his competence, as portrayed in national media, are somewhat exaggerated.

But it is not just a feeling. There are a number of complaints about Lai's governance here in Tainan, and this is one of them: that his environmental protection bureau is incompetent. As I understand it, the job of a mayor is to oversee the administration of the city which includes coordinating various agencies and hiring and firing the heads of those agencies and other personnel. Perhaps Mr Lai should consider the position of his commissioner for the city's environmental protection bureau.

It is a problem I have mentioned before, it is a problem that annoys me on a daily basis, and it is a problem which I have written to William Lai and the Tainan City government about before.

The problem is garbage; specifically, stinking, rotting piles of refuse that remain uncollected for weeks or even months at a time; damage to areas of the park as a result of uncollected refuse; too few waste bins which are also in poor condition and which need to be replaced; the use of plastic bin bags hanging on trees as a substitute for proper waste bins; the littering and fly-tipping habits of the locals.

This overturned waste bin in the park is not even provided by the Tainan City government, but by local people who live here. As you can see it was filled to the point of overflowing before it fell over.
A no-littering sign planted at the park by the city government's environmental protection bureau about a month after my first complaint. Behind it of course, is the beginning of another pile of garbage left behind by local people. I tried to tell the commissioner that this alone wasn't going to solve the problem, but I got no further reply.
One of only three waste bins in this particular park provided by the Tainan City government. As you can see, and as I complained to them, it has a large crack at the bottom where rats enter and leave during the night. Rather than plastic, the waste bins should be constructed from iron or cheap Chinese scrap metal. They don't have to look good, they just have to keep the rats out.
See that brown patch on an otherwise green field? That is a result of a large pile of cut grass being dumped there and left for weeks on end before finally being cleared up. The grass in this field grows quickly, especially during the summer, and ought to be cut once a month or thereabouts. Instead it is cut once every three to five months.
Another such brown, rotten patch further up the field. 
Fly-tipping by local Taiwanese is a weekly occurance; in this case bags of polystyrene packaging just dumped behind the hedge next to the pavement.
More trash thrown carelessly into the park from the pavement.
Plants behind this old stone wall boundary section are now covered with trash and Taiwanese people simply don't bat an eyelid at this; they think it's just normal.
Just look at that fucking shite left lying around. It's disgusting.
In addition to the piles of cut grass refuse that were removed late, several large piles were left behind and seemingly forgotten and are now beginning to grow as they accumulate additional trash from the local Taiwanese.
This pile is the one in the background in the photograph above. There have been one or two real-estate developments in this area recently both of which overlook this park (one such apartment complex you can see in this image). Buy a fantastic new apartment in Tainan city and get beautiful views out over the piles of trash!
Another brown patch of spoiled grass left by another pile of cut grass refuse that wasn't removed on time.
And another one; this one right next to the pavement which cuts through the field at the north end of the park.
Here is the prize pile. This was originally just cut grass refuse but has since grown and mutated into a local tourist attraction; just look at all those lovely household waste bags sliced open by the stray animals and spilled out onto the field. Note the couple in the background with the baby-stroller; they had to walk past this utter disgrace.
The same garbage pile in context with houses across the street and the new apartment complex further behind. This pile of garbage has been here for about a month now.
Another in-context shot: you can see that originally, this was just a long pile of cut-grass refuse which has been added to at one end by fly-tipping local Taiwanese.
A close up shot; broken tree branch straddles a series of black plastic bin bags topped with all kinds of shite.
On the other side of the pile that wonderful little collection of household and kitchen waste.
Broken egg-shells stuffed with what looks like tissue paper somebody must have used to blow their nose.
One of these bags has been sliced open, probably by stray dogs or cats.
Another sliced open bag and a load of organic waste which in this case looks like rotten fruit.
Polystyrene packaging.
An old, wooden chair. As I said this is just local Taiwanese fly-tipping because they don't give a fuck and because of the failure of the Tainan City government to properly supervise and manage their refuse removal workers.
Miscellaneous garbage left lying on top of black plastic bin bags.
Due to the shortage of waste bins, the volunteers who help to clean the park attach black plastic waste bags to trees as a substitute.
The obvious problem with these is that they can be ripped and torn with garbage spilling out around them. This particular bag is fine, but I have had to personally replace ripped and torn bags in the park on several occasions.
I will send another email to the Tainan City government to complain, but I am getting sick and tired of this. I might just take some people with me and actually go there to complain in person.

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