Minister Lee noted that Hsiaoliuchiu (Lamay or Lambay Island, south of Kaohsiung) has a beautiful environment and good ecological protection. From its shores, green sea turtles can be seen swimming in the ocean. Every year, Hsiaoliuchiu attracts nearly one million visitors, yet with tourism comes significant amounts of trash. According to the town hall’s statistics, the island produces an average of 1,900 metric tons of trash on an annual basis, which has impacted the surrounding environment. Minister Lee stressed that implementing these strategies will gradually guide the island to reduce plastic use in a number of different areas. Disposable utensils from restaurants will be banned. Visitors will be encouraged to bring their own toiletries. The number of eco-friendly hotels, which do not change sheets and towels during one's stay, have increased from 31 to 60 hotels.
Minister Lee noted that one million bottles would be used per year if each visitor to Hsiaoliuchiu purchased one PET bottle. If the island provided drinking fountains or water machines, visitors would be able to easily obtain quality drinking water, significantly reducing the amount of waste. Since one 600ml bottle of water results in 150 grams of carbon footprint, by reducing this waste by half the island would have a CO2 reduction of 75,000 kilograms.
At the press conference, students from Baisha Elementary School in Hsiaoliuchiu, Pingtung, performed a play, "Sons of the Sea", depicting the importance of ecological protection for Hsiaoliuchiu’s green sea turtle, and there was also an artwork exhibit showing the impact that plastic waste has on sea turtles and the environment. The activities highlighted the importance of the plastic-free Hsiaoliuchiu and low-carbon island model program.
The EPA appealed to travelers visiting Hsiaoliuchiu to bring their own bottles and toiletries as well as to choose eco-friendly lodgings, all in order to reduce single-use plastic waste. Taking such actions will gradually turn Hsiaoliuchiu into a model plastic-free and low carbon island.
- Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)