水電費貴了,垃圾少了?

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1989 / 2月

文‧張靜茹 圖‧鄭元慶


「環境使用費」的措施,乃因大眾不滿企業產生大量污染而興起;但每個現代人在生活中也都扮演著「污染者」的角色,其中又以製造垃圾的人最多。去年十月,政府通過立法,決定向全國民眾徵收「垃圾清理費」。

花錢可以消災嗎?恐怕沒有那麼「便宜」。


抱怨空氣太壞、河流太髒、水災頻傳嗎?你可能也是罪魁禍首之一。

直接把垃圾丟到街角,製造髒亂;使用含有化學物質的肥皂粉、去污劑,害得河川無法「呼吸」而死亡;塑膠袋、寶特瓶用後隨意丟棄,導致排水溝阻塞,颱風天市區因此積水不退……。

由於這是大多數人造成的後果,政府就撥出稅收來解決問題。由台灣省、台北市政府共同支付二百多億整治淡水河就是一例。

你也是污染者!

當污染愈來愈多,稅收不足以應付額外暴增的費用;也為了更公平,讓真正製造汙染的人承擔費用;加上希望更積極杜絕會製造污染的產品……,政府就對大眾收取處理污物的費用,或對污染產品課徵「污染稅」。

比方增加一般汽油的污染稅,使它的價錢比無鉛汽油高,除了稅收可以拿來防治污染,也鼓勵大家多用無鉛汽油。向全國民眾徵收「垃圾清理費」,也就是在這種原則下產生的。

垃圾可以說是目前我們生活環境中分佈最廣的污染源。「圾垃堆」成了每條大街小巷必有的景觀,各縣市鄉鎮常為圾垃何處去傷腦筋,「圾垃大戰」也因此頻頻發生。

在物質豐裕,國人不似以往珍惜物資的情況下,每個人的圾垃量一直在持續上升;收集、清運、處理、徵收垃圾用地的費用也逐年增加。根據環保署估計,若要讓現有全國的垃圾都步上「軌道」,以焚化爐或掩埋場處理,所需的費用要上千億台幣。

除了稅收較多的台北市,台灣省和高雄市早就告急,多年前就在水費中附徵百分之八的垃圾清理費,但也只夠各縣市政府支付百分之十的處理費。

雖然有中油盈餘補貼,環保署能計畫在全國廣設焚化爐,但補助不會年年都有,未來仍需地方自己找錢付營運、維修等費用。

有錢就能解決問題?

「有錢才好辦事」,垃圾費因此被視為解決垃圾問題的良方,國外的例子也不斷被用來支持徵收垃圾費。

至於要收多少錢、怎麼收,環保署目前已請學術單位研究如何由水電費中附徵。

由於水費基本費很低,用戶普及率還不夠高——很多人仍以馬達抽用地下水,若再隨水費加徵垃圾費,會有許多漏網之魚。除了水費,用電量也和我們生活有密切關係,且用電普及率在百分之九十九以上,因此有學者建議可以由水、電各定一個匯率收費。

也有學者認為,由水、電各收一半,必需多與一個主管機關溝通,民眾也會對收「雙份」產生排斥,不如只由電費徵收。意見雖有不同,但環保署已確定不久將由這兩案中取一實施。

但是專為垃圾設一個收費項目,更積極的意義其實是為了使大家能節制垃圾量,尤其台灣土地、資源有限,唯有「垃圾減量、回收」才能真正解決垃圾問題。許多學者擔心,若依附在水電費中徵收,也許會使大眾因此節約用水、電,卻不會使垃圾量有效地降低。

以量收費才有好效果

要居民自動回收、減產垃圾,必須有直接的經濟誘因。以先進國家的例子來看,他們多採「以價制量」的方法。

比如美國新澤西州高橋市,市民必須購買貼紙貼在垃圾桶上,否則清潔人員拒收桶內垃圾。每家的垃圾桶容量一律為卅加侖,每週收一次,每戶一年五十二張貼紙,收費一百四十美元;若需額外貼紙,就得再花錢購置。結果在一年內,該市垃圾量銳減了百分之廿五。

德國有些地方乾脆就限制每週只收一次和一桶,使大家不得不少製造垃圾;當然政府也為他們設有很好的紙張、鋁罐等可再利用物品的回收管道。

政治大學財稅系副教授鄭文輝三年前在對台灣垃圾問題做深入了解後,也曾有「以量收費」的提議。他建議,我們可以採行購買專用的垃圾袋,家中製造的垃圾愈多,就要多花錢買垃圾袋。

但有環保官員擔心會有不少人,不肯花錢買專用垃圾袋,再趁著沒人注意時把垃圾丟出來。為環保署研究「垃圾費徵收辦法」的台大經濟系副教授熊秉元也認為,購買垃圾袋的方法,會造成民眾的「迴避行為」;然後,又是守法的人倒霉。有人甚至擔心會有人仿冒垃圾袋圖利。

不要只想走簡單的路

包括中研院經濟研究所副研究員蕭代基在內的多位學者則以為,主管單位不應對大眾沒有信心,只想挑簡單的路走——由水電費中徵收垃圾費;如此無法控制垃圾量,向大眾徵收的費用也會逐年提高。

蕭代基表示,以價制量的方法可能在開始實施時比較困難,但等路子「走好」以後,卻能產生較大的效果。而且除了購買垃圾袋,以價制量的方法還有很多。至於主管單位擔心的問題,其實都可以解決,比如可以像煙酒公賣局一樣,也設垃圾袋專賣店,就不擔心有人仿製了。

管理垃圾無法「全國統一」

鄭文輝則以為,垃圾處理雖是全國性的問題,但每個地方的情形卻各有不同,因此定一個「全國統一」的方法,其實並不好。

例如台南市是垃圾車挨家挨戶收集垃圾,但清潔人員並不下車,必須倒垃圾的人將垃圾遞給車上的工作人員,因此採行以價制量,誰也別想僥倖不付費。

台北市都是公寓、高樓,一棟大樓有八、九十戶,丟出來的垃圾沒人知道是誰的,就可以試著以水電費徵收。

事實上,在學者專家舉的各國垃圾收費方式中可以發現,這些方法幾乎都只是某個縣或市專門採行的方法,而且也可能只適合當地。

鄭文輝舉日本某一住宅區為例,丟出去的垃圾袋上必須寫自己的姓名,而且可燃、不可燃或有毒廢棄物都要分開裝;若有人不守規矩,被清潔人員發現,立刻當場廣播:「某某先生!你未把垃圾分開,拜託下次不要再如此!」道德制裁的成功,使該區垃圾處理費用很低,居民可能比較麻煩,卻可以少付許多錢。

縮小為「社區問題」

「畢竟垃圾是地方的事,每個地方依自己的情形來處理最好」,鄭文輝表示。

尤其大家最直接感受到的垃圾亂丟、破壞市容、臭氣四溢問題,應該縮小為「社區問題」。他強調,不需要強求市民都「愛大台北」,每個人只要能關心自己的社區環境就好了。由社區里長將每個人組織起來,不准別的社區把垃圾丟到我們區內,社區內的每個人家也能彼此互相尊重,垃圾問題就解決一半了。

可惜我們的社區功能卻不彰。鄭文輝說到自己的經驗表示,常有社區里長表示「不好意思」指責亂倒垃圾的鄰居,「不好意思要你這個里長做什麼?里長要做的不就是這些事!」他說。

不是沒有成功的例子。到木柵考試院的試院里,是不會見到一袋袋垃圾的,因為他們由里長召集起來,每個人依自己家的人口數估算個垃圾量,然後就知道那幾戶門前要多放垃圾桶,那邊可以少放,不會有垃圾四溢和垃圾桶閒置的情形。由於木柵多雨,他們還特地購買有蓋子的垃圾桶。

如果我們自己什麼都不想做,以為只要環保署下個命令收費,就能把所有垃圾問題解決,那未免太天真了。

〔圖片說明〕

P.82

垃圾充斥已成現代政府的新負擔;收垃圾費遂成新趨勢。

P.83

除了收費,解決垃圾問題還需要配合垃圾分類、回收再利用等方法。(張良綱攝)

P.84

荷蘭街頭專為收集電池設置的垃圾筒。

相關文章

近期文章

EN

Utilities Up, Garbage Down

Chang Chin-ju /photos courtesy of Arthur Cheng /tr. by Peter Eberly

Environmental user fees arose in response to public distress over factories spewing out pollution; but every one of us today is also a polluter, mainly because of the refuse we create. Last October the ROC government enacted legislation to charge the public fees for waste disposal.

Is money the answer? The solution probably won't come so "cheap."


Waste disposal fees have been seen as a good way to tackle the country's mounting refuse problems, and foreign examples have constantly been cited in support of the idea.

As to how high the fees should be and how they should be collected, the Environmental Protection Bureau is studying a proposal to add them to people's utility bills, basing them on each household's consumption of water or electricity or some ratio between the two.

Many experts worry, however, that if the fee is added to water and electric bills, the public may reduce its consumption of water and electricity but not its production of refuse.

If people are to cut back on waste production and learn to recycle it, they must be motivated economically. In the advanced countries, this is usually done by controlling quantity through price; that is, by basing fees on the amount of refuse produced.

A similar method has been suggested by Cheng Wen-hui, an assistant professor of public finance at National Chengchi University who made an in-depth study of the problem three years ago. He proposes requiring people to use special bags for waste disposal. Households that produce excessive waste would then have to spend more money to buy the bags.

Environmental officials worry, however, that instead of buying special garbage bags quite a few people would simply dump their trash when no one else was looking. Hsiung Ping-yuan, an assistant professor of economics at National Taiwan University who is studying methods of collecting the fees for the bureau, also believes that the method would lead to "evasive action" by a portion of the public, penalizing law-abiding citizens in the process. Some officials are even concerned that the bags might be pirated.

Still, a number of scholars, including Hsiao Tai-chi, an associate research fellow in the Institute of Economics at Academia Sinica, maintain that the bureau should have more confidence in the public instead of taking the easy way out by tacking the fees on to utility bills. Otherwise, refuse will continue to pile up, and the fees will increase along with it.

Cheng Wen-hui believes that although waste treatment is a national problem, the situation is different in each locality, so imposing a unified method for the whole country is not the right way to go about it.

In Tainan, for instance, garbage trucks drive from door to door, and residents hand up their rubbish to the workers personally. So no one there could hope to dodge a system that charged a fee based on quantity.

But in Taipei, where most people live in multi-unit apartment buildings and where no one knows whose garbage is whose, levying a charge on utility bills may be the only practicable approach.

In fact, the various collection methods touted by experts seem all to be practiced only in particular cities or places.

Cheng cites the example of a community in Japan in which residents write their names on their trash bags and separate burnable, nonburnable, and toxic items. If the garbagemen catch someone breaking the rules, they immediately blare out over a loudspeaker: "Mr. So-and-So, you haven't separated your refuse! Please, don't this again!" These moral sanctions have succeeded in reducing the community's waste treatment costs at a very low level. The residents may be put to a little extra trouble, but they save quite a bit of money in the long run.

"Refuse is a local matter, after all, and each place can handle it best according to its own circumstances,' Cheng concludes.

In particular, the problem that everyone experiences most directly--that of thought lessly discarded garbage spoiling the looks of the city--should be narrowed to the community level. It's not necessary to compel every citizen to "love greater Taipei"; all that people have to do is show some concern for their own neighborhoods. If community leaders organized neighborhoods so that each family kept its trash to itself and respected the rights of others, then the refuse problem would be halfway solved already.

Unfortunately, many neighborhoods are not so well run. Speaking from his own experience, Cheng says his community leader kept telling him he was "embarrassed" to do anything. "If you're so bashful," he replied, "then what are you doing as our leader? Aren't things like this exactly what a community leader's supposed to do?"

It's not that there are no examples of success. You won't see piles of uncollected garbage in the neighborhood around the Examination Yuan in Mucha, because the community there met with its leader, estimated how much refuse each house hold produced, and bought trash containers for everybody--with lids, because it rains there a lot.

If we think that all our refuse problems will be solved by a fee without our doing anything about them ourselves, we're being a little naive.

[Picture Caption]

Trash--another worry turning from a molehill into a mountain for the government. Charging fees for dealing with trash is the current trend.

Solving the trash problem also requires separating garbage, collecting what's reusable, and recycling it. (photo by Vincent Chang)

A garbage can especially for batteries on a street in Holland.

 

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