22 April, 2019
Lifestyle

Your Guide To Beach Cleanups In Hong Kong

22 April, 2019

Here’s how you can help save Hong Kong’s coastline…

We’ve all seen plastic bags and bottles lying discarded on the streets and at the beach. But ultimately lots of this waste ends up in the sea where it can choke fish, birds and sea creatures. This destroys the ocean’s ecosystem and often ends up back on our dining table via the seafood we eat. Plastic takes hundreds of years to break down, and even after it does, it often releases toxins into its surroundings. Earth is our home, so should be worthy of our time and dedicated care.

Don’t wait until it’s too late to act, join us and get out there to help save the planet that has given so much to us. We want future generations to be able to enjoy Hong Kong’s beautiful beaches, nature trails, hikes and country parks. This guide will cover how to get ready for a beach cleanup, as well as listing some of the different organisations that run them regularly in Hong Kong.

Read more: How Hard Is It To Go Plastic Free In Hong Kong?

how to do beach cleanups hong kong- plastic free seas

Get Ready For The Cleanup:

It’s important to be prepared for a beach cleanup, so 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 potentail 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

Organisations Offering Beach Cleanups In Hong Kong:

Plastic Free Seas

It’s important that everyone does their bit to make Hong Kong a more sustainable place. Tracey Read, the CEO of Plastic Free Seas (PFS), does more than her fair share. She has been raising awareness about plastic pollution issues in Hong Kong since 2007. Having led lots 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.

What does PFS do?
PFS offers school talks on the issue of plastic marine pollution for free. To date, it has educated more than 25,000 students on the topic. It also operates community beach cleanup programmes, which are available for individuals, school groups and companies.

How can you help?
Join in with one of its community beach cleanups. Go by yourself, or bring all your friends. Schools, community groups and companies can also organise beach cleanups. Sign up for the PFS newsletter to receive information every two months on what you can do to help save our beaches!

beach cleanups hong kong- the first penguins

The First Penguins

The First Penguins is a group dedicated to beach cleanups in Hong Kong. It was founded in August 2016 when a group of friends were in Okinawa and met an activist called Masa, who had been cleaning beaches everyday for more than two years. This inspired the group to set up The First Penguins and do their part to help save Hong Kong’s coastlines.

What do The First Penguins do?
The First Penguins organise monthly beach cleanups, with a different theme every month. In the past, participants have been dressed up as Princes and Princesses, Star Wars characters, and even in Christmas outfits. How do beach cleanups get more fun than this? Their work isn’t limited to this, though. The First Penguins collaborate with NGOs, volunteer groups and commercial groups in Japan and Hong Kong. In 2016, they organised a beach cleanup tour, which brought some of these Japanese organisations to Hong Kong. In 2017, they organised an ocean cleanup boat tour with these same Japanese volunteers. We love that they are trying to bring together people from across Asia to help tackle this important issue.

How can you help?
Join its meetup group, which has more than 2,000 members! This is the best way to be kept up to date with information surrounding the monthly beach cleanups and other various events.

Hong Kong Cleanup

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 of Hong Kong on the importance of environmental protection and the increasing threat of climate change.

What does Hong Kong Cleanup do?
Every year from the 1st of January until the 1st of December, Hong Kong Cleanup sets up a public Cleanup Challenge. Teams can sign up and compete during the year for awards such as most trash collected, biggest team, best team spirit, the weirdest item found, and more. Of course, the competitive aspect is all good fun, but it’s also a great way to motivate volunteers to tidy up as much waste plastic as possible! You can also sign up a group for a managed cleanup.

How can you help?
There are many ways to help. Firstly, consider gathering a group of friends, family or co-workers and signing up as a team to compete in the annual Cleanup Challenge. If you can’t commit to this but still want to get involved, sign your office up for a managed cleanup at a location of your choosing. It’s the ideal way to bond as a team at the same time as doing some good for Hong Kong.

guide to beach cleanups hong kong- clean shorelines

Sous Les Déchets La Plage

Sous Les Dechets La Plage (SLDLP) is an initiative headed by Hong Kong’s French community. SLDLP 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.

What does Sous Les Déchets La Plage do?
Two to three times a year, SLDLP arranges beach cleanups. These take place at six to eight different locations across Hong Kong at once, and last for two to three hours. They seek to demonstrate that if lots of volunteers come together at the same time, their small individual efforts will make a large overall difference. SLDLP works with local recycling companies, so some of the trash that is gathered will be directly recycled.

How can you help?
Join in with one of the annual cleanups. Also, check out its Facebook page, where all of the information about upcoming beach cleanups and other projects is posted.

Clean Shorelines

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 that help people get involved in the effort.

What does Clean Shorelines do?
Clean Shorelines provides lots of useful information for anyone looking to participate in, or organise a beach cleanup. The website lists all the different beach cleanups that are taking place in Hong Kong, so if you want to find a cleanup on a particular date, this is the best place to look. Alternatively, if you are interested in organising a beach cleanup of your own, look no further. Check out the handy guidelines provided by Clean Shorelines on how to do so! Everyone who is interested in being involved in a beach cleanup will also benefit from reading over the safety guidelines for shoreline events.

How can you help?
Take a look at these statistics on marine refuse, collected by four different Hong Kong government departments, in order to better educate yourself on the situation at hand. Clean Shorelines gives you all the resources you need to get yourself ready to clean some beaches and help restore Hong Kong’s beautiful coastline.

Featured image courtesy of Getty, image 1 courtesy of Plastic Free Seas via Facebook, image 2 courtesy of The First Penguins via Facebook, image 3 courtesy of Clean Shorelines

 

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