The Dark Side of Flying Sky Lanterns (WILD: Episode 4)


These are sky lanterns. They’re marketed as lucky charms, wishes that people can send up to the heavens. And every year in Taiwan, up to 600,000 of them are released into the sky. And what goes up, well, eventually has to come down. Sky lanterns were traditionally used as military signals, but in the 1990s, Taiwan turned them into a tourist attraction. For 5 U.S. dollars a piece, you can paint your wishes on a lantern and send it into the sky. It’s a great photo op for tourists, but few consider the environmental repercussions. Shifen is the sky lantern capital of Taiwan, and every day, hundreds of tourists come here to release lanterns into the sky. But walk five minutes outside of the town, and this is what you’ll see. This is Ryan. And he often takes people on excursions through Taiwan and hosts trash clean-ups. This local farmer has unwillingly amassed a pile of sky lanterns on his front porch. Shao Aiting is the president of a company called Bank of Culture. Their goal is to preserve traditional Taiwanese crafts. And in 2016, they came up with a biodegradable lantern. Traditional lanterns are made out of wire and bamboo, but this version is made entirely out of paper and combusts in the sky, leaving no trace behind. Price is indeed a factor. The environmentally-friendly sky lantern retails for $10 at the store. Traditional lanterns go for half that price. For these activists, their hope is to preserve the practice of sky lanterns in Taiwan, without leaving an impact on the environment or the economy. And they say changing the narrative is the most effective way to change people’s minds.

30 thoughts on “The Dark Side of Flying Sky Lanterns (WILD: Episode 4)

  1. well the government aint going to stop it for the money so the people got to take it upon themselves to stop. and its not just tourist as they are done by natives for festivals/holidays

  2. Great video. I visited Shifen last year and was horrified by all the pollution. Btw 3:44 interesting Chinese phrase there..

  3. Hmmmmm…$10 for paper or $5 for bamboo…I'd pretend to be confused but you would only come back with some psycho- babble bull …and since they are both biodegradable even the metal degrades to enrich the soil ….and if they could come down and maybe burn someone !????…
    But you get me !!!!….full of bull $10 paper lanterns ?? Take your greedy ass somewhere else ….insulting bunch of shit !!!!!

  4. So… the conclusion is still about the money and profit. Eco-friendly is just another excuse to make yourself less guilty to do such things.

  5. It they can be made with rice paper and vegetable dye maybe more eco friendly…got to watch full video before I comment:)

  6. Um wow. Every part of a lantern is biodegradable. Every single part. Rice paper, bamboo, even the metal wire will rust away in a few months in the elements. It's the plastic ones Indian Youtube channels teach people how to make that are non-biodegradable.

  7. Went to Shifen two years ago to fly lanterns for good fortune. Now I just feel guilty. 😣 Keep making informative videos like these pls!

  8. Has anyone of these people thought of praying for a good environment? What the hell are these people thinking? 🤬😡

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