Coastal Clean-up Day 2019
By Mr Howard K H Yeung
The Coastal Clean-up Day 2019 was jointly organised by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) and the Hong Kong Underwater Association on 21 September 2019 with support from the YMC. Despite being newcomers to this annual event, 13 young members from the YMC joined in support.
The day started off by sailing from Sai Kung Pier to Sharp Island in bright sunshine. During the cruise, Mr Chow Wing-kuen, Senior Marine Conservation Officer of the AFCD, introduced the rich biodiversity of the Sai Kung area. Sharp Island, in particular, is a habitat to coral, starfish and various species of fish. He then discussed the impact of marine rubbish on the ecology. For example, plastics products could be consumed by marine creatures and then enter the food chain. Abandoned fishing gear, commonly known as ghost nets, on the seabed may trap and kill marine life.
Upon arrival at Sharp Island, the volunteers split into the diving team and the beach cleaning team, with the YMC joining the latter. It was observed that the rubbish on beach was mostly comprised of plastic products such as bags, bottles and various utensils. Within 1.5 hours, the beach cleaning team successfully collected more than 20 kg of litter. What was even more alarming, though, was that the diving team picked up 30 kg of underwater rubbish, including car tyres. Despite the hot weather, both teams found that cleaning up was so satisfying and they didn’t want to leave until the last minute.
The Coastal Clean-up Day 2019 was a rewarding event as the volunteers not only physically cleaned up the coast, but also enhanced public awareness of marine conservation. The YMC will invite everyone to join the event next year as well as helping to reduce the use of plastic products in daily life in order to protect our precious marine resources.
The YMC beach cleaning team and the AFCD