Asian cities have been known for their high levels of pollution, and the current trash problem on Hong Kong beaches is a stark reminder of the ongoing issue.
In the past two weeks, beaches in Hong Kong have been inundated with loads of garbage. This is a problem, not just for anyone wanting to spend time relaxing by the water, but also for the local wildlife.
Locals have called the situation a “tragedy” and referred to the beaches as “a solidified oil spill of trash.”
— Nancy Lokos (@bynance) July 2, 2016
There have been reports of bunches of dead fish, as well as a dead sea turtle covered in plastic. And it’s likely that other species are being widely affected by this phenomenon, as well.
Hong Kong beaches have faced large amounts of trash in the past. This summer, however, the labels on the trash trace it back not only to local sources, but also to mainland China. Some officials think this points to illegal dumping that is going on in the ocean.
The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) partially blames the mid-June floods on that mainland that brought trash to sea and then back to Hong Kong through monsoon currents. They don’t, however, have any official plans to remedy the problem at hand.
CNN reported that the EPD estimates that the amount of waste on the beaches in 6 to 10 times higher than what is normally found during the summer on Hong Kong’s beaches.
Southeast Asia Director of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Gary Stokes, also attributes part of the problem to different wind or tide patterns that are redirecting mainland trash that would otherwise flow out to sea. He also attributes some of the problem to
Wai Ling Ding Island, a small island nearby that houses a huge trash dump.
Citizens have started taking photos of the huge trash piles on the beaches and posting them to social media. They hope to share them as a way of making the government notice the phenomenon, and make the municipalities in charge of the trash fix this mess.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported in 2015 that marine pollution in Hong Kong wasn’t a serious problem to worry about, but the current state of its beaches only highlights that there’s still a lot of work to be done.
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