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Garbage piling up on Liouciou Island

2015/04/10 15:53:27

Taipei, April 10 (CNA) Liouciou Township in Pingtung County, a small tourist island off Taiwan's southwestern coast, has not been able to dispose of its garbage for four months due to a shortage of funds, officials said Friday.

An estimated 850 tons of garbage have piled up on the island, causing a bad smell that local residents fear will affect the island's booming tourist industry.

Although the township only has a population of 5,000, it received 400,000 tourists last year alone.

The problem has drawn widespread public attention after the United Daily News ran a front-page story on the island's plight Friday.

The township's garbage is usually shipped to Pingtung County for incineration, but the disposal process has been suspended since January because the Pingtung County government did not budget funds to cover related expenses for 2015, according to township chief Chen Lung-chin.

Although Liouciou Township's garbage disposal expenses are subsidized by the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA), the Pingtung County government is supposed to also earmark a budget to ensure there is money to cover the expenses before the subsidy becomes available, Chen explained.

The EPA only approved this year's subsidy on March 17, and the township will only be allowed to draw on the funds after obtaining approval from the Liouciou Township Representative Council on April 20, he said.

Pingtung County Magistrate Pan Men-an, who is currently in South Korea, instructed the county's Environmental Protection Bureau on Friday to provide the necessary assistance to help Liouciou Township dispose of its garbage in the shortest period of time.

The bureau said that in addition to a NT$7.5 million subsidy from the EPA, the county government will provide another NT$2.5 million in subsidies to the township and speed up the related tendering process.

(By Kuo Chih-hsuan and Y.F. Low)