Red Brick Daily Staff

According to a report in the Taipei Times, the small island of Lanyu (蘭嶼) is considering requiring visitors to pay an “environmental tax” … (perhaps NT$200-300 per person) which is supposed to help to pay for the clean-up of garbage generated by tourists.

Some 120,000 people visited the island in 2015, and these folks generated one ton of garbage per day during the off-season … and as much as four tons per day in the summer!

The island is home to the Tao, an ethnic minority group who migrated to the island from the Batan Archipelago 800 years ago.

 

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(Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

The island is known to them as “Ponso no Tao” or the “Island of the people” … others call it “Irala.”

 

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(Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

 

Home to 4000 people, approximately 2400 belong to the aboriginal Tao community, and the remaining 1600 are mainly Han Chinese.

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(Phot via Wikimedia Commons)

 

The island is accessible by sea or air. The flight duration is half an hour and the daily frequency is dependent on weather conditions. Ferry trips to the island are available from Taitung City’s Fugang Fishery Harbor year round, while in the summer, there is a ferry from Hou-bi-hu port in Kenting.

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Lanyu Island officials cite Palau as an example, where tourists are required to pay several thousand NT dollars as a kind of tax for cleanup and environmental protection efforts

Orchid Island, as it’s known in English, could emulate such policies under the township’s self-autonomous regulations, say local advocates.

Nearby Green Island reportedly proposed the same idea in 2003, but the Ministry of Finance rejected it, saying people have the right to freely travel to and from the island — and a levy on tourists would be unfair.

What’s your call? Is a small tax a good idea? Or is it “unfair”?

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