Wondering how you can help save Hong Kong’s coastline? Join a beach cleanup!
We’ve all seen plastic bags and bottles lying discarded on the streets and at the beach. Sadly, most of this waste ends up in the sea, where it can choke fish, birds and sea creatures. In addition to destroying the ocean’s ecosystem, research has shown that this waste can even end up back on our dining table via the seafood we eat.
So, what can we do about it? Perhaps one of the most obvious (and easiest!) solutions is to cut back on your use of single-waste plastics. Remember, plastic takes hundreds of years to break down, and even after it does, it often releases toxins into its surroundings, so responsible disposable alone won’t cut it! (Check out our guide to zero-waste stores in Hong Kong to get started.) For those who want to take a more proactive role though, beach cleanups are the way to go. Not only will you get to spend a glorious day in the great outdoors with a group of like-minded eco friends, you’ll be helping to save the planet that has given so much to us. Sounds good to us!
Ahead, we’re sharing everything you need to know about beach cleanups in Hong Kong, including how to prepare, tips for staying COVID-safe, and which local organisations run them regularly. See you out there!
Read more: 7 Ways To Live A More Sustainable Lifestyle
Getting Ready For A Beach Cleanup:
It’s important to be prepared for a beach cleanup; here are some of our suggestions:
- Make sure to dress appropriately for the weather. If it’s sunny, bring a hat and sunscreen. If it’s raining (or looks like it might rain later) bring a light rain jacket.
- Wear appropriate footwear (we suggest trainers) because there will be hazards, including potential glass, on the beach.
- Check the event page to see if the particular organisation will supply gloves, or if you’ll need to bring your own.
- Bring energising on-the-go snacks and a full reusable water bottle.
Read more: Your Guide To The Best Hong Kong Beaches
How To Stay COVID-Safe During A Beach Cleanup:
Beaches may be officially open again but it’s crucial to still follow social distancing guidelines:
- Keep your mask on at all times.
- Make sure to leave your contact details with the organiser to facilitate any future track and trace measures.
- Stay in groups of four (preferably within your own social group, if possible).
- Do not pick up any discarded masks or other PPE equipment unless you have a grabber and separate disposable bag in which to place these items.
- If you’re feeling ill in any way, stay at home and do not join the cleanup.
Organisations Offering Beach Cleanups In Hong Kong:
It’s important that everyone does their bit to make Hong Kong a more sustainable place. Tracey Read, the Founder and CEO of PFS, does more than her fair share. She has been raising awareness about plastic pollution issues in Hong Kong since 2007. Having led a number of beach cleanups and given talks to schools, she decided to explore the issue further by joining a research expedition in 2012. This took her from Japan to Hawaii, via the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, where she witnessed first-hand how plastics are impacting the marine environment. Soon after that journey, she started PFS with the aim of raising more awareness and to inspire the community in Hong Kong to come up with local solutions.
How can you help?
Join one of PFS’ community beach cleanups, or organise your very own. Head here to find out more.
Hong Kong Cleanup is an organisation committed to cleaning and protecting the oceans that we love. Since the year 2000, it has engaged over 350,000 volunteers and cleaned up over 70 million pieces of litter. The organisation is dedicated to educating schools, communities and the government on the importance of environmental protection and the increasing threat of climate change.
How can you help?
Hong Kong Cleanup is here to facilitate privately organised beach cleanups. Get in touch with the team if you’d like their help managing an event, which includes assistance in planning, internal communications, data management, photography, certificates and more. Alternatively, sign up for a non-managed beach cleanup, where you’ll be allocated a site and left to organise everything else individually.
SLDLP is an initiative headed by Hong Kong’s French community. The name refers to an old French slogan that translates to “Under the waste, the beach”. Its main objective is to raise awareness about marine pollution and the importance of reducing waste in our daily lives.
How can you help?
Head here to sign up for SLDLP’s next beach cleanup. Registration is mandatory and can be done individually or in teams. Participants will have the option to choose their own location from a designated list.
Clean Shorelines is an initiative run by the Hong Kong Government. Its aim is to educate the public on the issue at hand, and to provide resources to make it easier for the public to get involved in the cleanup effort.
How can you help?
Head here for a full list of beach cleanups taking place across Hong Kong. Alternatively, if you are interested in organising a beach cleanup of your own, check out these handy instructions on how to do so! Anyone who is interested in getting involved in a beach cleanup will also benefit from reading over the safety guidelines for shoreline events.
As the name suggests, Beyond Plastic is committed to raising awareness of plastic-free alternatives in an effort to reduce the amount of single-use plastic being used in Hong Kong. To do just that, the brand has its very own shop stocking everything from bamboo products to sugarcane takeaway boxes, silk floss and more. In addition to supporting grassroots environmental charities with every sale, the team also organises bi-monthly beach cleanups.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published by Izzy Baehr in April, 2019 and was most recently updated by Team Sassy in April, 2021.
All images courtesy of Sassy Media Group. Images 1 and 2 from the Sassy X Leaves and Liberty beach clean up event.