A deluge of garbage is overwhelming Hong Kong beaches. In what some refer to as a trash ‘tsunami,’ Hong Kong beaches have seen an estimated six to 10 times the usual amount of trash recently. And most of that garbage is plastic that won’t easily decompose.
Trash washing up on beaches isn’t unheard of for Hong Kong, but this amount of trash is abnormal. Lantau Island’s Cheung Sha Beach and Hong Kong Island’s Stanley Beach have seen “tens of thousands of tons” of garbage washed ashore in areas where children typically play. Hong Kong’s Environmental Protection Department blames June flooding in China and monsoon winds. Councilor Paul Zimmerman said the trash washed in from illegal and legal dumps in Hong Kong and China.
Many think the trash is coming from China as well as Hong Kong because of the trash packaging and labels. Sea Shepherd Hong Kong, a conservation group, points to a dump on the island of Wai Ling Ding. Just south of Hong Kong, the island is administrated by China and home to a dump which Sea Shepherd director Gary Stokes described as a “glacier of trash” that could be flowing downhill into the ocean.
An Environmental Protection Department April 2015 report claims Hong Kong ocean trash “does not constitute a serious problem.” But Coastal Watch, a World Wildlife Fund project, said up to 15,000 metric tons of ocean trash are gathered yearly in Hong Kong. One local described the current issue as “effectively a solidified ‘oil spill’ of trash/plastic.”
One Green Planet writes, “8.8 million tons of plastic” end up in our oceans every year. That trash poses a threat to marine creatures and pollutes the environment, and likely won’t break down for about 1,000 years.
Images via Ocean Recovery Alliance Facebook