ENVIRONMENT

Plastic waste tops list of rubbish found on Hong Kong's beaches

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 November, 2014, 3:31am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 November, 2014, 3:31am

Plastic waste poses one of the biggest threats of pollution on Hong Kong's beaches, this year's International Coastal Clean-up programme has found.

For the first time since the Green Council began organising the event in 2008, plastic items topped the list of marine debris found on the city's beaches, followed by styrofoam fragments.

A total of 9,456 plastic fragments - the highest amount on record - were picked up from the beaches, the council, a not-for-profit group, said yesterday.

Seven out of the top 10 items of marine debris collected by volunteers were plastic products, and more than half of the rubbish collected was made of plastic, the council revealed.

"This implies that the recycling facilities in Hong Kong are not enough," Green Council project officer Karson Yau Chun-yan said.

He added that the government should install more recycling facilities across the city.

It should also do more to educate people on the damage that plastic products can wreak on the environment, he said.

The council said that the increase in amount of plastic marine debris collected was probably caused by recreational activities, marine transport and commercial fishing activities.

Chinese-brand products made up about a third of the debris, indicating that the rubbish had floated over to the city from the mainland, it said.

"Plastic bottles and food wrappers of Chinese brands were mainly found in the western part of Hong Kong, like on the beaches in Tuen Mun," Yau said.

He also praised Hong Kong's plastic-bag charging scheme, which has encouraged residents to carry reusable shopping bags and avoid wasting plastic bags.

The annual International Coastal Clean-up event took place between September and this month.

More than 2,500 volunteers took part in the event held at 35 sites across the city, collecting a total of 4.5 tonnes of rubbish.

The campaign is a global event initiated by the Ocean Conservancy in 1986.