Volunteers clean up awards - and the environment

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 November, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 13 November, 2009, 12:00am

Hong Kong people like awards, but more importantly, they enjoy them even more if they are won for supporting worthwhile causes, such as the International Coastal Cleanup Challenge.

Lisa Christensen, director of the International Coastal Cleanup Challenge and founder and managing director of Ecovision, said award recipients not only fully deserved their recognition, they were also ambassadors for creating awareness that more needed to be done to protect Hong Kong's marine and coastal environment.

At an awards event held at Dragon-i on Tuesday to announce the results of the month-long cleanup, teams that took part in the Coastal Cleanup Challenge were presented with a variety of awards for their efforts.

These included the best team spirit gold award which was won by Team CLSA with Team Nike taking the silver and Teams Team Agility, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, and Chi International awarded bronze for their efforts.

In the greenest team category, Team Canada was awarded the gold prize, while teams Ecols and Optiled Lighting International took the silver and joint-merit bronze with the British Council.

The largest corporate team gold went to Sino Group with Nomura taking the silver and Kerry Logistics securing the bronze. Largest non-corporate team gold was presented to the Outward Bound organisation with Sha Tin College awarded the silver and Cub Scouts of America taking the bronze.

The grand prize for most trash collected was presented to Philips Hong Kong, with Nomura taking the silver award and Sino Group awarded the bronze.

There were even awards for the weirdest trash collected during the beach clean up Challenge. The South China Morning Post team claimed the gold award for the discovery of a prosthetic human leg, ship management firm Wallem, secured the silver award for a taxi door and Nomura for clearing a beach of a size 44EE bra.

'Individuals and the companies that support the Coastal Cleanup Challenge have shown that with commitment they can make a difference,' said Christensen. 'We need to drive home the idea what washes up on shore is a fraction of what winds up in the water, threatening marine life and damaging ecosystems the world over. We need to do this through better education and awareness.'

She said the awards event provided an opportunity for those who participated in the challenge to network and chat about their experiences and exchange ideas about environmental initiatives. Since the Hong Kong programme started in 2000, more than 25,000 volunteers have collected tonnes of trash from 100 beaches around the territory. The data collected during the cleanup becomes a powerful voice for conservation once tabulated by The Ocean Conservancy, which is the global organiser of the International Coastal Cleanup.

'By cleaning up, collecting data, and recycling, we demonstrate that environmental stewardship and protecting our coast and waterways is fun, easy and is everyone's responsibility,' said Christensen.

Gilbert Yeung, founder of Dragon-i, which sponsored and hosted the awards event said Dragon-i had been the proud venue sponsor for the Hong Kong International Coastal Cleanup volunteer wrap party for the past five years. 'As an avid water sportsman, this event has great personal relevance for me,' said Yeung. 'When we take our boat out on the water, we often set aside some time to take a bag to the beach and do our bit for the environment by picking up trash. We need to emphasise and create more awareness that Hong Kong's beaches and waterways are truly a most precious resource. We will continue to support Ecovision's efforts and we encourage all our valued customers and friends to consider taking part in this excellent initiative.'

Adding glamour to the awards ceremony, model and Channel (V) VJ, Lisa Selesner, better known as Lisa S and her partner, the actor, director and model, Daniel Wu, lent their support as celebrity goodwill ambassadors. Those attending were also entertained by an eco fashion show with models dressed in recycled yacht sails and outfits made from confectionary wrappers. There was also a display of trendy bags made from recycled rice sacks.