On Sunday 25th February, more than 500 people (300 of whom were domestic helpers) fulfilled their civic duties by cleaning up TaiWanTo on Lamma Island. A total 1,400 kg of waste was collected in just under 2 hours.
The trash was mostly polystyrene foam left from Typhoon Hato which wrecked Hong Kong last September 2017. Local Lamma Island resident and conservationist, Dr Robert Lockyer (who is also the operations director of AquaMeridian Conservation & Education Foundation) initiated the clean up of the beach in preparation for the typhoon and monsoon season this year.
Along with polystyrene foam, the most common items found were plastic cutlery and drinking straws, whilst the dive team from the Hong Kong Ghost Net Facebook Group were able to remove a small quantity of monofilament ghost nets that had become entangled in the rocks.
A representative from the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) said that it took 15 Village Vehicles to remove all the trash that was collected on the day.
Keilim Ng, from EcoMarine, a sponsor of the event and a marine environmental organisation based on Lantau Island said “It’s so rewarding to see so many civic-minded people to come along today. We all hope and wish that they will carry the memory of today with them and replicate this all over Hong Kong.”
As one of the main supporters for the event, the representative from The European Union Office of Hong Kong and Macao thanked everyone for their contribution and hoped that everyone could change their pattern of behaviour in everyday life by consuming less single- use plastic products.
Despite approximately 400 bags of trash being collected from the beach, they still ended up in Hong Kong landfill due to shortage of funding for waste recycling facilities locally.
Throughout 2018, AquaMeridian Conservation & Education Foundation will be organising monthly public cleanups to help promote a healthier and happier lifestyle by using less “single use plastic products”.