B-day Beach Clean

B-day Beach Clean

10 August, 2015
Get Old & Give Back
A team of 23 traded candles for data cards and picked up 26 bags of trash
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Last week a team of 23 rocked up to the ironically-named Sandy Bay in Pok Fu Lam, Hong Kong Island, for a birthday beach cleanup.
 
Armed with (sturdy!) rubbish bags, clip boards, gloves and data cards provided by the Hong Kong Cleanup, the motley crew managed to make a significant difference to the seascape of this western shoreline - which is not managed by the Hong Kong Government, and noticeably so.
 
Upon arrival the rocky bay was a sorry sight. There were massive piles of styrofoam boxes, medical equipment, plastic bottles, household items, fishing equipment and miscellaneous trash. It seemed like a mammoth task to complete in the 1 and a half hours before sunset, so the team decided to designate a specific stretch of beach to clean. After a quick familiarisation chat about how to fill in the datacards (available for download from Hong Kong Cleanup's website), the team posed for a quick 'before' shot and got to work.
 
Astonishingly, this is what was found:

  • 40 food wrappers
  • 53 plastic take-away food boxes
  • 64 foam take-away food boxes 
  • 67 plastic bottle caps
  • 3 metal bottle caps
  • 35 plastic lids
  • 19 straws
  • 28 forks, knives and spoons
  • 12 fishing nets/pieces
  • 17 ropes
  • 11 appliances (including a wok)
  • 6 furniture items (including a pair of curtains!0
  • 7 cigarette lighters
  • 29 construction materials
  • 1 tent
  • 1 firework
  • 1 tire
  • 596 plastic bottles (!!!!)
  • 14 glass bottles
  • 17 cans
  • 19 grocery bags
  • 40 cups & plates (paper, plastic & foam)
  • 90 foam packaging
  • 5 syringes
  • 6 toothbrushes
  • 773 pieces of foam smaller than 2.5cm
  • 58 pieces of plastic smaller than 2.5cm
  • 42 flip flops

 
Tragically, this represents but a drop in the ocean when it comes to marine debris, but on a micro level, the difference this cleanup made to the local ecosystem on that beach is significant. Now there will be 496 fewer plastic bottles, 42 fewer flip flops, and 11 less appliances slowly disintegrating and flowing into the sea for fishes and birds to eat. 
 
Moreover, the data collected during Hong Kong's annual Cleanup Challenge is added to the Ocean Conservancy's annual Trash Free Seas report, which collates data from around the world and analyses the main menaces to marine health in each region.
 
So if you're birthday falls during the beach cleanup season from now until December, why not age with true grace and go clean a beach? Hong Kong Cleanup is here to help with advice and guidance on logistics, beach options, tide timings, etc. Just call or email on 28685585 or tessa@hkcleanup.org
 

By: Ecozine Staff
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