Much more mainland plastic ending up in HK’s waters than previously thought: NGO

Photo by Vicky Wong.

The marine mess the mainland’s caused in Hong Kong is worse than has been officially acknowledged, says an environmental group.

Green Earth yesterday presented their findings of how much plastic from China ends up in the seas around the city.

While the Hong Kong government has claimed only five percent of floating plastic bottle waste comes from the mainland, the group’s research found it could be as high as 38 percent, equivalent to 5,700 metric tons, which the group noted was the same as 356 double decker buses.

Green Earth accused the Environmental Protection Department (EPD), whose figures are based on the 2015 report Investigation on the Sources and Fates of Marine Refuse in Hong Kong, of downplaying the severity of the situation.

The department’s report claimed that local items made up 95 percent of marine refuse and the rest came from the mainland.

However, Green Earth studied the labels of the floating waste found in 10 places, including Lamma Island, Sai Kung, Gin Drinkers Bay and Sha Tau Kok.

They found some 38 percent were written in simplified Chinese.

The group noted that, in the government’s study, unlabelled waste was automatically, and perhaps wrongly, classified as local trash.

The group also urged the Chinese and Hong Kong SAR governments to set up a plastics reduction policy, and that fast food and retail outlets should set aggressive targets and timetables for plastic waste reduction.

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