Orchid Island (Taiwan)

Taiwan's Lanyu Island (Orchid Island) is a small island situated in the Western Pacific off the south-east coast of Taiwan. It is approximately 45 square kilometers in area and has abundant rainfall. Almost one hundred protected rare plant and animal species live in the island's tropical forest. The island not only has rich natural resources, but is also the area in which the Yami tribe lives. The Yami people's distinctive culture is an even more valuable example of one of the most well preserved ocean cultues. The Yami population numbers about 3,100 people living scattered over the island's low land.

In 1977 the Taiwan Government carried out a plan to turn Orchid Island into a nuclear Waste dump to store low level radioative waste from Taiwan's nuclear power plants. In the 13 years since 1982, the amount of nuclear wasted stored exceeds 100,000 barrels. Due to the lack of care in storage more than 30,000 barrels have started to rust and leak. Radioactive contaminated earth and water was dumped into nearby seas, seriously polluting the water in which the Yami tribes do their fishing. This has caused an increase in the number of cancer-related deaths and children with learning disabilities for those who have to eat contaminated fish.