By: Taiwan News, Staff Writer
The annual Pingxi Lantern Festival has always been the highlight of Lunar New Year’s activities in New Taipei City. It was even praised by CNN and National Geographic magazine as one of the “must-go” festivals in the world, attracting a large amount of travelers from around the world to come join the festive tradition.
However, in the eyes of local environmental groups, the festival is more than just an icon of Taiwanese culture. Environmentalists are worried that sky lanterns are creating too much garbage and damage to the environment, as many of the lanterns launched end up littering the countryside. In addition, these newly designed lanterns often do not decompose naturally on the ground, placing great burdens on the environment.
The Environmental Quality Protection Foundation (EQPF) recently noted that traditional lanterns with thin bamboo stick frames and cotton paper lampshades are made from decomposable materials that can be burnt completely before falling to the ground. However, their supply cannot keep up with the demand as these lanterns are getting increasingly popular. [FULL STORY]