Ocean pollution is a global issue that happens when pollutants such as trash and chemical waste enter waterways and eventually reach the ocean. It’s easy to feel like your actions don’t matter, but small changes in the way you live can make a big difference.
Hong Kong beaches are often covered in rubbish and it’s not just one or two spots either – it’s everywhere you go! In this article, we will explore the five reasons why Hong Kong beaches often have too much trash and how you can get involved in beach cleanups.
But first, let’s talk about the importance of ocean pollution.
The importance of the ocean
The ocean provides us with food, income, and a healthy way to relax – these are all benefits that require clean water! But it’s actually a much bigger deal than this.
The state of the ocean is so important to us all because it directly correlates with the quality of life we live. The ocean plays a crucial planetary role in mitigating the impact of climate change through its absorption of heat and carbon. The UN recently announced that that state of the ocean will “ultimately determine the survival of our species”.
So, it doesn’t matter if you’re an avid beachgoer or only visit every once in a while, the quality of beaches should matter to everyone.
Just how much rubbish is floating in the ocean?
Ocean Conservancy recently came out with its report on the global state of plastic pollution. The results are not pretty!
Among all this trash, there is an estimated 150 million metric tons of plastic bobbing around in the ocean. And it doesn’t stop there – every year a further, 8 million metric tons of plastics end up in the ocean.
We need as many people as possible involved in cleaning up beaches and stopping ocean pollution before it gets any worse. It doesn’t matter where you live, what matters most is that you’re making a difference!
5 Reasons Why Hong Kong Beaches Have So Much Trash
We produce more waste per capita than any other country in Asia
Hong Kong produces a huge amount of waste each day and the majority is made up of packaging. Figures from the EPD show that the average Hong Konger produces 3.37 pounds of waste per day for the landfills! This is much higher than the world’s average level of waste.
This overproduction of waste is particularly due to consumer behavior – more needs to be done to ensure consumers produce less waste and manufactures and businesses to reduce the production of new (not recycled) plastic and to eliminate single use plastic products (shopping bags, straws etc)
In Hong Kong, littering could cost you up to HK$1,500 in fines! Despite this penalty, people still choose to litter because they don’t understand the consequences of their actions.
Littering doesn’t just affect Hong Kong’s water quality – it also affects our air and public health. When waste is carelessly tossed on the ground or into the water, it is carried by rainwater and ends up in our waterways.
When we get too much trash in the ocean, many marine animals become entangled or injured which can lead to their death. Littering also causes serious damage to sea creatures such as fish and turtles who mistake plastic for food!
Overpackaged food is an issue in Hong Kong. The supermarkets are full of unnecessary plastic packaging, and they often try to add bubble-wrap as well!
Inadequate recycling facilities
In Hong Kong, less than 15% of the plastic waste that gets reduced is recycled. As a result, this plastic often winds up on the streets or in our oceans. Once there, plastics turn into microplastics (tiny particles) which are hard–if not impossible!–to remove from oceanic sediments.
There are so many issues associated with having such small pieces of plastic floating around the ocean. Not only do these microplastics cause issues with the digestive systems of fish but they end up in our food chain.
Changing weather patterns
Rubbish in our waterways changes with weather patterns. Two tropical cyclones in October 2021 exposed the magnitude of Hong Kong’s massive sea pollution problem. The two storms left behind piles of garbage on beaches and coastline, including plastics that will never break down and only get worse over time for our oceans if we don’t stop them soon! The rubbish that ended up on the shore, even forced the closure of beaches!
How can you make a difference?
While it’s easy to feel like your small efforts won’t make a difference, you can certainly contribute.
It is very important for everyone to use reusable water bottles and avoid using plastic bags when they go shopping.
You can also join in the fight against ocean pollution by signing petitions or contacting your local government representatives to share your concerns!
Another option is to organize or participate in beach cleanups.
We can all make a difference, so let’s start now! Let’s clean up our beaches so we can enjoy them even more than we already do!
How to Get Involved in Beach Cleanups!
If you want to do a beach cleanup by yourself, grab some gloves and rubbish bags and head to your favorite beach, and start picking trash.
However, if you would like to participate in an organized beach cleanup this is possible too! Fortunately, companies such as Ecollective exist to specifically make it easier for people to participate in a beach cleanup in a structured and social manner.
Ecollective works with companies, groups and individuals on beach cleanups. If you’re an individual looking to get involved in an organized beach clean up, the cost is as little as $400.
What to expect from a Beach Cleanup with Ecollective?
Ecollective will set the location and timing and they will bring all the equipment needed including:
- Rubbish bags
- Onsite education, supervision and assistance
- Copies of team photos and videos
- Presentation of the day’s activities and achievements
- The data from the cleanup will go into the global database
The best thing about getting involved in an organized beach cleanup, rather than doing it on your own, is that you can connect with other people who are passionate about making the world a better place. Also, you will have an opportunity to chat with Ecollective staff and learn more about ocean pollution! It can be a really fun experience and a good experience for your kids because it will help teach them about the importance of protecting our environment.
Depending on the size of the group, the cost of an individual to participate can be as low as HK$400.
If you would like more information on Ecollective and their beach cleanups, visit:Ecollective on IG or email Mark at email@example.com (Whatsapp 9193 5246) or Magdalena at firstname.lastname@example.org (Whatsapp 6350 2979).
You may feel like there’s nothing you can do to help the ocean, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The first step is awareness of what causes pollution and how it impacts our planet. Once you know this, then small changes in your daily habits or lifestyle can make a huge impact on cleaning up Hong Kong beaches for future generations!
It only takes one person to start paying attention to their own wastefulness and create enough change on an individual level for everyone else to follow suit.
If you want more information about beach cleanups happening near Hong Kong or ways that YOU can get involved, please contact Magdalena or Mark from Ecollective.