British man angers Taiwanese netizens after throwing banana peel from car
When in Rome, do as the Romans do, as the saying goes. However, perhaps it can go unsaid that littering in any part of the world is improper. Some cultures take the matter of cleanliness more seriously than others, including that of the Taiwanese people.
Taiwan once had the moniker “garbage island”, but the present reality is now far from it; through successfully implemented laws and systems, it has made waste management a community practice nationwide.
It makes it more understandable then that a man carelessly throwing a banana peel out of a moving car has riled up citizens, according to a Taiwan News report.
Last June 1, a Taiwanese man named Aswey Wu was driving along Kenting National Park in Pingtung County’s Hengchun Peninsula when he witnessed the littering incident. He followed the car, and while at a stoplight, he called out the driver, a Taiwanese woman and the passenger in the blue Toyota sedan.
While Wu spoke in Mandarin to the two, the woman served as a translator. When asked why they were littering in Taiwan, the woman explained that it was just a banana peel.
“Bananas can be thrown away like that?” Wu retorted.
When he learned that the passenger was from the United Kingdom, he asked, “Is this OK in the UK?” The British man said yes, and when prodded if he was sure, he said yes again in a softer voice.
Wu posted a video of the confrontation and a picture of the car with the passengers inside at the Facebook group Hengchun Peninsula Public Affairs Discussion Group.
Netizens’ comments were irate: one Yuchen Sue said, “This is Taiwan, please follow Taiwan rules.”
The Taiwanese woman driver wasn’t spared from the outrage either. A certain Xiaoxiao said, “Listen to her! Even our own Taiwanese does not care for the environment, but also helped translate the bullsh*t words. You should throw garbage back on them again.”
The British man has since posted an apology on the same Facebook group. He claimed that in England, it was “acceptable” to throw fruit waste because it would “decompose.”
In Taiwan, public waste bins are few to avoid overflowing trash. Since the 1990s, it has enforced a zero-waste policy which includes a ban on single-use utensils and reduction of food packaging. While those who litter face fines, informants are also given rewards.
In parts of the United Kingdom, littering fruit waste is illegal and involves hefty fines. In 2009, a man in Wales was fined £340 (P24,000) for tossing a banana peel out of his car, as per BBC. Niña V. Guno/JB