As promised, the trash cans are gone from Hong Kong’s famous hiking trails — part of the government’s ballyhooed “Take your litter home campaign — and in a shock that you might want to sit down for … it’s not going all that great so far.
Ostensibly, with no rubbish bins, Hongkongers will simply carry their garbage home with them. Confident in that, the city removed the last of the bins on Dec. 15 while simultaneously lowering the number of cleaners sent on hiking trails to remove trash, according to on.cc.
Unsurprisingly, some hikers have noted that since the bins were removed, litter has been getting worse. Most of these complaints and photographs of litter were found on Facebook groups dedicated to hiking in Hong Kong.
One hiker said she managed to fill up a plastic bag almost entirely with discarded paper towels while hiking from Quarry Bay.
Another photo posted online by someone hiking in Tai Lam Country Park shows a drain being used as a rubbish bin. Two problems for the price of one!
Some recycling bins can still be found in parts of country parks where there are barbecue spots, but even those are being misused.
FFS Hong Kong, it really isn’t that difficult to enjoy the great outdoors without completely trashing it pic.twitter.com/WHhIExsN9x
— Ryan Ho Kilpatrick 何松濤 (@rhokilpatrick) January 1, 2018
However, there are those who have stepped in to help clear up the mess, like Steve Kong, who last month posted a photo of himself carrying two black trash bags with the caption: “Please remember to take your own trash, it is hard to do it on my own.”
On New Year’s Eve, he posted another photo of himself carrying a wooden rod with several black trash bags with the caption: “Thank you hiking friends for your support in 2017, in 2018 I hope the country parks will be even more beautiful.”
Fortunately for Kong, he is not on his own with the clean-up effort. This morning, the hiker posted on a Facebook hiking group pictures of himself and his army of friends with litter pickers to clean up the mess.
We’re not ready to write off this new plan — and it’s highly optimistic view of human nature — just quite yet, but there’s clearly a learning curve that’s going to need to take place before people accept the idea that they’re going to have to cart their trash home with them. Until then, we’re rooting for you, Hong Kong hikers. Let’s keep those trails clean.