Palau tells visitors to sign Palau Pledge


Worried about the future of its fragile environment as it becomes a more popular spot for visitors, the tiny island nation of Palau is stamping an environmental pledge into visitor passports and requiring them to sign it.

Palau, a Micronesian archipelago of several hundred islands halfway between Japan and Australia, has seen an explosion of visitors, especially from China, which has put a strain on its infrastructure as well as environment.

Almost 150,000 visited last year, up 70% over 2010, and dwarfing the local population of about 21,000.

Some visitors have upset locals by capturing turtles to take selfies, walking on fragile corals and littering.

The pledge includes "I take this pledge as your guest, to protect and preserve your beautiful island home...I vow to tread lightly, act kindly and explore mindfully."

Photo: Peter Binter / Wikimedia

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