Here’s a link to some pictures of the oil spill that’s polluted a 1 km stretch of coastline on tiny Orchid Island (there are links to two other pages of pictures halfway down the page):
The oil slick (dumped sometime last month from an unidentified passing ship) has ruined the coastline between the villages of Yeyou and Hongtou, including the area from which the fishermen in that area launch their canoes from. From the looks of it, the government is going to do next to nothing, and has dispatched only about twenty under-equipped workers to clean up the mess.
The head of Taiwan’s EPA, Chang Kuo-lung visited the island last month and basically said the gov’t will be content to let the oil disperse back into the ocean on its own–never mind the lasting effects it will have on the locals or their livelihoods. Other than the coast guard members, the villagers are now on their own to clean up the oil. Calls to help in clean up operations have been answered by elderly villagers and area middle school students.
Words cannot express my anger over this. After having been subjected to decades of exposure to radioactive waste the Tao aborigines of Orchid Island now have to deal with this. Although we don’t know who spilled the oil in the first place I would think the government would at least try to allocate some more resources for clean-up operations (then again,that might be wishing too much considering the bang-up job they did over the spill in Kenting a few years back). While the oil will eventually disperse in the end, the damage will remain on Orchid Island for a long time to come.