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Hong Kong environmental issues

Ban plastic from Hong Kong’s beaches to help save our oceans

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 July, 2018, 2:30pm
UPDATED : Friday, 13 July, 2018, 2:30pm

As reported by you on July 7 (“A coastal treasure trove”), disposable plastic waste is having an impact on our ability to enjoy our public beaches and the ocean. The point was well made and Hong Kong can actively contribute to cleaning up our environment.

The European Commission recently proposed new restrictions on 10 single-use plastic products most often found on beaches and in seas, including single-use plastic cutlery, straws, and plates. Around the world, countries are moving to curtail the harmful impacts of disposable plastic. Estimates are that 8 million metric tonnes of waste go into the ocean from land every year – 40 per cent of that from Asia.

My organisation has just launched a podcast audio called Eight Million , which reveals the extent of the problem.

An easy fix for Hong Kong’s ocean plastic would be to ban disposable plastic on all public beaches – no plastic water bottles, takeaway boxes or utensils, and no balloons. On Earth Day in April this year, three tonnes of rubbish on Hong Kong beaches – most of it plastic waste – were collected by 1,500 Hongkongers during one day of beach clean-up. Recent research we reported in Eight Million found one in four fish studied in Indonesia had plastic debris in them – primarily fragments of broken down larger plastic products.

Watch: Plastic waste chokes Asia’s oceans

Make Hongkongers pay deposit to drink out of plastic bottles

We already do not allow dogs and ball games on public beaches. Starting with the Plastic Free July campaign – can’t we just say “no” also to disposable plastic on public beaches forever? Then maybe next Earth Day we can spend our time enjoying our beaches rather than doing beach clean-ups.

Marcy Trent Long, founder, Sustainable Asia