29th March 2023 – (Hong Kong) Paddlers in Hong Kong’s Sha Chau and Lung Kwu Chau Marine Park were recently met with a concerning sight during their excursions. A group of abandoned solar panels were discovered floating in the sea, leaving authorities puzzled and the community worried.
Sha Chau and Lung Kwu Chau Marine Park is a protected natural area for recreational activities and other purposes, located to the north of Hong Kong International Airport. However, it is not uncommon for large waste items such as bamboo poles to accumulate in the park due to various factors such as weather and currents, according to the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department.
Efforts to identify the source of the solar panels have been unsuccessful so far, with the department liaising with other government agencies and posting notices in the area. As a result, arrangements are being made for a contractor to remove the panels from the park this week.
Unfortunately, marine waste and pollution are not new issues in Hong Kong. Prior to the pandemic, government data revealed that more than 14,000 tons (31 million pounds) of mainly plastic marine waste were collected annually. Most solar panels end up in landfills after their typical three-decade lifespan ends, with Hong Kong and other territories not requiring them to be recycled.
The increasing concern over marine waste has led the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department to launch various initiatives to address this issue. These include beach clean-up operations and marine conservation education programmes, as well as collaborating with other stakeholders to establish the Hong Kong Marine litter and Plastic Action Plan (MAPAP).