Get in Formation: Hundreds of kids and volunteers call for plastic-free seas by forming ‘Trashzilla’ on Hong Kong beach

Over 800 children, teachers, and volunteers formed a Godzilla-esque monster, dubbed “Trashzilla” on a local beach yesterday morning to raise awareness of the need for ocean protection.

Hundreds of young “ocean ambassadors” flocked to Repulse Bay Beach from schools all over Hong Kong and Macau to call for plastic free seas at the fourth annual Kids Ocean Day in Hong Kong.

Kids Ocean Day volunteers chat with Ocean mascot Efrain. Photo: Chad Gardella Photography/Ocean Recovery Alliance/Malibu Foundation/Spectral Q

With the help of teachers, volunteers, and aerial artist John Quigley, the budding young conservationists came together to form a fearsome-looking creature they dubbed “Trashzilla”. Underneath it, participants formed the urgent message, “Stop Trashzilla!”

Photo: Alastair Gray Photography/Ocean Recovery Alliance/Malibu Foundation/Spectral Q

In the upper left corner was “垃圾蟲”, or “Lap Sap Chung”, which literally means “litterbug”. Old-school Hongkongers might recognise it as the name of a cartoon character created by the government in the 1970s to address overflowing litter plaguing local waters and beaches.

It seems only appropriate that these bright young children are paying homage to the beast, after Hong Kong’s shores were hit by waves of garbage over the summer. 

Organisers Ocean Recovery Alliance, a local NGO, held a competition amongst participating schools to determine this year’s Ocean Day design, and decided on a drawing by Ty Cunrow, a nine-year-old student from the International School of Macao.

Another entry, a cleaning crab by Hong Kong student Henry Sung, 11, also won and will be made into a ceramic placque, which will be installed in public pavements. What an honour!

(L-R) Aerial artist John Quigley from Spectral Q, Kids Ocean Day founder Michael Klubock, “Trashzilla” artist Ty Cunrow, and Ocean Recovery Alliance co-founder Doug Woodring. Photo: Chad Gardella Photography/Ocean Recovery Alliance/Malibu Foundation/Spectral Q

Ocean Recovery Alliance co-founder Doug Woodring said, “This year we have chosen to make an impact through renewing the collective memory of ‘Lap Sap Chung’, the famous local trash monster who reminded the community not to litter. This recent spotting in Hong Kong reminds us all that we can do more to keep our waters and streets clean.”

Michael Klubock, who founded Kids Ocean Day in the United States in 1994, said, “Kids Ocean Day is about alerting us all to the need of protecting the ocean from the everyday trash and plastic litter that is thrown on streets, which sadly often ends up in our waters, killing marine life and polluting our food resources.”


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