Ocean plastic pollution: Hong Kong must act before risks to marine and human life multiply
Recent studies by the Education University and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) have found disturbing evidence of marine plastic pollution, with microplastics ending up in the digestive tracts of commonly consumed fish species (“Greenpeace in health warning after plastic found in a fish species popular for Chinese meals”, April 23).
Earlier, microplastic levels in local beaches were revealed to be as high as 5,500 pieces per square metre, or more than twice the level seen in the US, and higher than the average international level.
Now we find that 60 per cent of the wild flathead grey mullet, a fish species common in Chinese meals, contain microplastics, with an average of 4.3 fragments per fish. Researchers said one fish examined had 80 fragments, which is terrifying.
Worrying findings in the HKUST study included evidence that microbeads, tiny plastic pellets added to many beauty and personal care products, can produce irreversible damage to marine species.
So, it’s a fair assumption that if we consume these contaminated marine species, they would in turn cause irreversible damage to our health as well.
The green policies set out by the Hong Kong government have evidently not produced satisfactory results.
A German catamaran on a global litter collection mission helped out in Hong Kong recently. Should we be ashamed at the visit, as it suggests that Hong Kong cannot handle its own pollution issues?
The government should make the health of its citizens a top priority and keeping our oceans clean is a crucial way to help us avoid potentially serious illnesses. I hope the government can implement tougher measures to ward off the threat of marine toxins.
Randy Lee, Ma On Shan