There is nothing more depressing in the oppressive heat and humidity of a summer weekend than to visit one of Hong Kong's 41 public beaches and observe them in their full horror. What happened to that golden era when people went to the beach to sunbathe, picnic and enjoy a refreshing swim in the cooling waters of the South China Sea? These days, very few are courageous enough to attempt swimming in that toxic soup, with all manner of plastic debris floating on its surface like industrial croutons. Official figures indicate that sea water quality is improving all the time around Hong Kong but try telling that to the horrified swimmer navigating carefully past a floating nappy - assuming, of course, that he has been able to reach the water at all after breaking through the dense ranks of schoolchildren on tour and newlywed couples using the waves as a backdrop to their banal photographs. The beach, it seems, has been reduced to a Facebook photo opportunity. In a tolerant society, everyone's leisure preferences should be respected, so a word of advice - please don't interrupt innocent sunbathers trying quietly to read a book and ask them to take a photo of you. And in a city with more shops selling bags than anywhere else on the planet, why should anyone have to pack their food, clothes and assorted tasteless beach accessories in overflowing plastic shopping bags that will later be left discarded on the sand? On busy days, our beautiful beaches look more like landfill sites populated by idiots.