Taipei-More than a dozen shops have been warned for failing to abide by the government's expanded ban on free plastic bags that came into force on Monday, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) has said.
A total of 16 shops were caught violating the ban during random inspections by environmental officials of 10,800 retailers across the country on Monday, said Lai Ying-ying (???), the interim director-general of the EPA's Department of Waste Management.
Among them, nine were beverage shops, four were pharmacies, two were electronics stores and one was a bakery, Lai said.
Because the first day of the expanded ban occurred during the three-day New Year's holiday, many shops were closed, she said, but the random inspections will continue to be carried out in the days to come.
The policy to prohibit giving plastic bags to consumers was first introduced in 2002 and covered the government sector, private schools, department stores, hypermarkets, supermarkets, convenience stores and fast food restaurants.
The goal was to encourage customers to use their own shopping bags.
To further reduce waste and promote environmental conservation, the ban was recently extended to seven more types of retailers -- pharmacies, medical equipment stores, book and stationery stores, laundries, beverage stores, bakeries, and computer, consumer electronics and communications product retailers.
According to Lai, businesses that fail to comply with the regulations will receive a warning for a first offense and fines ranging from NT$1,200-NT$6,000 (US$40-US$200) for subsequent violations.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel