Pick it up, weigh it, and bring it in—how hard can that be? Well, when the “it” is dog poop, that process may not sound too appealing. But the city of Taichung is willing to make it worth your while.

To help clean up this city of a million people, Taichung’s Environmental Protection Bureau has decided to offer a bounty for a substance that was never considered very precious before. Now, anyone game enough to go around gathering dog droppings can earn themselves a cool NT$100 a day.


FYI, NT$100 is only about 3 bucks, and it’s not in cash but in a coupon redeemable at a local chain store. So you may want to go printing up that “Official Canine Caca Collector” T-shirt just yet.

The Taiwanese didn’t become big dog fanciers until the 1980s, when the economy of this Asian Tiger began to boom. Disposable income and leisure time increased, and one result was a surge of interest in pet ownership.

But like many other dog-loving countries, Taiwan now has its troublesome share of strays, which number as many as 180,000. The problem has been made worse by the abandonment of many pet dogs, whose owners find them too pricey to keep in these less prosperous times. The total effect can be a smelly mess.

Along with its dog-waste plan, Taichung is offering a similar bounty on the innumerable plastic drinking cups that litter the city. You have to wonder: Is there a bonus for bringing in your doggie-doo in discarded plastic cups? Someone ought to inquire.

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DanBing has lived in one Asian country and traveled in various others, engaging in activities that ranged from teaching English to playing Irish music to researching articles to marrying. The best part was usually the food, though the marriage hasn’t been too bad either. But of all his many accomplishments he is perhaps proudest of his close–extremely close–association with the person who wrote The Devil’s Food Dictionary: A Pioneering Culinary Reference Work Consisting Entirely of Lies (www.frogchartpress.com).