The Environmental Protection Administration has been encouraging the public to reduce its incense use, drawing the ire of incense manufacturers. They say, most of the shoddy incense products are imported from China, but the government is doing nothing about them while sullying the reputation of domestic producers. They also say, the EPA should establish standards for imported incense and only allow them to enter the country if they pass these customs inspections.
Worshippers hold incense in their hands as they pray to deities. Two years ago, the Environmental Protection Administration launched a campaign to encourage a reduction in incense and paper money burning to improve the air quality. Several major temples complied with the policy, while others in central and southern Taiwan expressed their outrage. Domestic incense manufacturers are also upset with the government. They said the EPA wants to cut down on incense use, but is doing nothing to ensure the quality of imported incense, which is really unfair to domestic manufacturers.
The incense products that are imported are made using the shoddiest materials available locally. The media also keeps reporting on how incense harms the body, which I think is an injustice.
They have used some shoddy data to ruin the reputation of the incense products that Taiwan's producers have painstakingly manufactured. This is really unfair to our industry.
The Bureau of Standards, Metrology and Inspection has set national standards on the heavy metals and other substances found in incense. However, no compulsory inspections are required for either imported incense or domestically-made incense. Imports account for 70 percent of the domestic market. In 2017, China supplied 73.99 percent of imports, the highest proportion. In second place was Vietnam, with 17.63 percent. Local manufacturers say the government should establish standards for imported incense, and only allow them to enter the country if they pass customs inspections.
We hope manufacturers can set their own standards. Those incense products that meet standards can have labels to distinguish them from foreign incense products.
The EPA convened local producers for a meeting, and recommended that they use "self-regulation" and voluntarily submit their products for testing and authentication. Those whose products pass the tests will receive credentials or quality product labels to differentiate them from imported products for consumers to choose from.