HK's pellet woes

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 09 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 August, 2012, 11:15pm


A ship's lost cargo has locals worried about the quality of the city's fish.

Several restaurant owners have decided to import fish from outside Hong Kong after local fish farmers reported that small amounts of plastic pellets were found in Ma Wan and Cheung Sha Wan fish culture zones. Local wet markets has also seen a drop in fish sales.

The plastic pellets fell from a cargo ship that lost seven of its containers when Typhoon Vicente hit the city two weeks ago. Six of them were loaded with 150 tonnes of plastic pellets.

The pellets were made at a Sinopec plant but so far no one has claimed ownership of the lost cargo. Shipping agent China Shipping Container Lines leased the vessel that transported the cargo.

Sinopec organised a group of volunteers to vacuum up pellets from a rocky beach in Shek Pai Wan on Lamma island.

Secretary for Food and Health Dr Ko Wing-man, who oversees environmental hygiene, said a deal was made with the Environmental Protection Department that the pellets would be recycled rather than dumped in landfills.

'This might be an inefficient process, but it is still worth it for the sake of environmental protection,' he said.

Yan Oi Tong, a charity funded by the government to operate a plastic recycling centre in Tuen Mun, said it was ready to reprocess the pellets as long as they were not contaminated.

Recyclers will have to sift though rubbish and sand to get the pellets.