Hong Kong may not be known for having the cleanest, clearest, most pristine waters, and most people who pay attention to our shores will tell you that marine trash has pretty much always been an issue. But in the past few weeks, the reports of marine trash have risen sharply, with many netizens calling it the current situation the worst they’ve ever seen in the city.
With what seems like truckloads of garbage being dumped onto Hong Kong beaches, users on social media have been driven to share what they’ve encountered.
Residents, frustrated by the perceived lack of response from the government, have been empowered to use social media in order to share information and to offer an alternative narrative to what they see as an issue long-ignored by the media.
Sea Shepherd Southeast Asia Director Gary Stokes rallies Facebook users to send in photos.
Sam Pak Wan Beach in Discovery Bay Photo: Julia Leung via Facebook
Cheung Sha Beach on Lantau Island. Photo: Sarah Wilson via Facebook
Cheung Chau Island. Photo: Martin Williams via Facebook
A video showing Pui O.
Video: Kristina Kardenas via Facebook
Legislative Council member Paul Zimmerman in Lau Fau Shan near Tin Shui Wai in the New Territories.
The outcry on social media got the attention of first local then international media outlets, with publications such Quartz, CNN, India Times, Smithsonian Magazine, Gizmodo, Epoch Times, Mic and the Weather Channel all covering the issue of our litter-strewn beaches, often with dramatic flair (“The Ocean Might Be Throwing Up Trash On The Pristine Beaches Of Hong Kong”, cries the India Times headline).
Determined to see action on the “trash crisis”, citizens launched a petition addressed to Secretary for the Environment KS Wong.
Started on July 5, the petition asks for the government to implement a refundable deposit on drink containers, including “all sealed plastic, glass, paper and metal containers containing water or other beverages sold in Hong Kong.”
The petition claims that the proposed regulation would not only result in a cleaner Hong Kong, but also provide additional income for the poor.