Homeowner, City Personnel Clash over Clutter 騎樓堆雜物居民憂公安 環保局強制移除

The issue of hoarding junk hit the headlines after a fire broke out at a Taichung apartment building whose stairwells were filled with clutter on March 6. On March 15, personnel from the city's Environmental Protection Bureau removed piles of junk from the arcade of a residence on Taiwan Boulevard.

Ms. He is the owner of this residence. Her motorbike is piled high with recyclables. On March 15, personnel from Taichung's Environmental Protection Bureau came to her residence on Taiwan Boulevard to forcibly clear away the junk stacked up under the arcade.

Ms. He, Homeowner: “Stop filming me. Why do you keep filming me? I'm not running for office.”

He owns this five-story residence located on a corner. The first floor shop front once commanded a monthly rent of NT$180,000. However, He kept large piles of recyclables both inside and outside. On March 6, a fire broke out at an apartment building whose stairwells were similarly filled with clutter, and this issue has been hotly debated since.

Resident: “There is clutter filling the entire front of the building. It extends all the way here. (What kind of clutter is there?) Recyclables. We live nearby, and we often feel wonder why there are so many piles of trash outside this building when we pass by.”

Wang Sheng-wei, Chief, Fuya Borough, Xitun District, Taichung City: “The Environmental Protection Bureau clears things away and disinfects every other Thursday. However, she just continues hoarding, which makes things difficult for us. ”

He said part of the junk under the arcade was maliciously discarded by other people. However, the bureau said piling up junk under a public arcade is a violation of the Waste Disposal Act and she was fined 30 times for a total of NT$106,800 between 2015 and 2020. She refused to pay the fines, and NT$30,000 have already been forcibly collected. At present, the police are helping to clear away the junk and anything that clutters up the arcade can be removed.

Chen I-hsing, Director, Xitun District Cleaning Team: “It's a private space, and this building belongs to her. That's why we can't get involved.”

The bureau said there is only one owner and the building is legally recognized as a privately-owned townhouse. As such, it can't apply the Condominium Administration Act Building Administration Division to the junk inside. It can only strengthen the supervision of the public spaces.