City dwellers can learn so much from joining coastal clean-up

PUBLISHED : Friday, 27 August, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 27 August, 2010, 12:00am

I refer to the letter by Simon Deane ('Clean beaches responsibility of everyone', August 21).

Mr Deane expressed his displeasure with the amount of trash piled up on Hong Kong's naturally beautiful beaches and coastlines.

The fact is, many of us city-dwellers never see the direct impact of our disposable culture and consumption habits.

We seldom feel any connection to the sea that surrounds us and - as Mr Deane says - it's a case of out of sight, out of mind.

I invite your correspondent to take heart, and check out an event that aims to, among other things, raise awareness of the direct responsibility we as a community have to take care of our beaches and marine environment.

EcoVision's Hong Kong International Coastal Clean-up Challenge (, now in its 10th year, is a large-scale community event that invites companies, schools and organisations to sign up a team and clean a beach.

Anyone can sign up a team at the above website, and EcoVision provides the necessary education and materials.

This year's coastal clean-up challenge will take place from September 25 to October 25.

Over the course of the month, thousands of volunteers will hit the beaches of Hong Kong to spend a few hours picking up litter and collecting data on what they find.

In doing so, participants gain a deeper understanding of how their actions affect the environment, while spending a memorable, fun and meaningful day outdoors.

The data collected by participants is later compiled to produce detailed annual local and global reports on marine debris, an essential step to finding solutions.

The message to take home from the event is that rubbish does not fall from the sky; it falls from our hands, and that rethinking, reducing, reusing and recycling are vital to minimising the vast amount of litter that washes up on our shores.

The clean-up challenge is part of a larger global event organised by Ocean Conservancy, the International Coastal Clean-up, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.

In 2009, 500,000 volunteers removed 3.4 million kilograms of debris in 108 countries, making it the largest volunteer event of its kind in the world. I encourage South China Morning Post readers to get involved in this very relevant cause and sign up a team.

Lisa Christensen, CEO, EcoVision Asia