Sky News launched a new campaign this week targeted at reducing the amount of waste in our oceans, reporting from one of Hong Kong’s worst-affected beaches to demonstrate the scale of the problem.
The report from Lap Sap Wan, which translates as Rubbish Beach, showed huge piles of trash along the shore, with more continuing to wash up as the cameras rolled.
The reporters were joined by volunteers and environmentalists from Hong Kong concern groups including Sea Shepherd, Plastic Free Seas, Ocean Recovery Alliance and Living Lamma.
Posting on the group’s Facebook page, Asia Director for Sea Shepherd Gary Stokes said, “There are days when you just hit a wall and today was one of those days, seeing the scale of the trash issue and what amounts to a futile attempt to try and clean it up as more was arriving on every breaking wave. The solution has to be stopping at source. We need to stop it getting into the ocean in the first place and for some products such as polystyrene we need an outright ban on its use.”
While the issue of trash on beaches will sadly come of no great surprise to HongKongers, the sheer scale of the trash at Lap Sap Wan on Tuesday was shocking. Broadcasting live from the beach, Gary waded over huge piles of plastic packaging, fishing nets, polystyrene and more, to the back of the beach, where polystyrene in various stages of decomposition was packed into the undergrowth. In places the ‘dunes’ reached as high as six feet.
Explaining why they had launched the year-long campaign, Sky said on its website, “Every minute, the equivalent of a rubbish truck load of plastic goes in to our oceans, it never decomposes and will remain there forever. If nothing changes, by 2050 all the plastic in the ocean could weigh more than all the fish. Plastic impacts on an entire ecosystem, marine life get caught up in it, eat it and live in it. It also has a direct impact on our health, acting as a sponge for toxins which can end up in our food.”
According to Sky, nearly 80% of plastic in the ocean was originally disposed of by someone on land. The organisation is therefore calling on everyone to get involved and do their bit to reduce their use of single-use plastics.
To find out more about Sky’s Ocean Rescue campaign, head to skyoceanrescue.com.
Images: Gary Stokes, Sea Shepherd