Thank you Hongkongers!

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you to all the 200 plus people that came to Discovery Bay today to help us clear up the pellets from our beaches.  You guys are awesome.  I couldn’t believe how far some of you travelled to get here and for most of you it was your first time to Discovery Bay and your first time participating in a beach cleanup!

The response from the media was quite overwhelming.  When the papers finally picked up on the story (via social media) everything went into overdrive.  Gary & I were interviewed pretty much non stop from 4pm Friday.  We were still receiving calls at 2am (why oh why people!!)  and Saturday was more hectic.  The media storm had arrived!  The big story was in Apple Daily with some pretty impressive animations to dramatise the event http://hk.dv.nextmedia.com/actionnews/hit/20120804/16574795/16575340

The media likes to have bad guys in a story as that is far more interesting than everyone co-operating in a disaster and there were certainly a lot of questions trying to get us to blame and point fingers.  There were a lot of people that expressed the view that the government was too slow to react.  It probably would have been better for the government to release a statement earlier but just like most of the population of HK no one really had any idea of the issues invovled with pre-production pellets or nurdles at the begining.  I am not trying to condone the government’s actions but I can understand that they needed to work out what the issues were before releasing a statement.  It certainly would have been better for us and the environment if they had done this earlier as it would have evoked a faster reaction from cleanup crews and volunteers.  There are a lot of lessons to be learnt from this disaster and hopefully in the future we will see better practices from everyone that has been involved.  There are things that can be improved on with Sinopec, the shipping company and the government.

Just to give you an idea of how much has been cleaned this is a before and almost after couple of pictures.  All the volunteers worked so hard, were really enthusiastic and seemed to have a lot of fun.  It was great!

The rubbish pictured above is on the high tide line.  It is made up of typhoon debris and pellets.  Most of it is small fragments of plastic and unfortunately there is just so much of it.  It runs most of the way along the beach.  All this needs to be go!

And most of it did go!!  Over 200 bags were filled on the beach which includes a huge amount of pellets as well as a lot of typhoon debris.  This beach has not been this clean for a very long time.  It really looks beautiful – thank you to all those who worked so hard on this beach and on all the other beaches.

One thing that will happen and we need to focus on is getting the pellets that come in on the tidelines.  This will continue for quite a while, but if we can remove these from the beach (sweeping them up) before they end up back in the sea then that will be a good thing.

One of the goals of getting people out for an organised cleanup was to show them how it is done and to empower them to go out alone and find their own beach to clean.  There are so many beaches that need help and we can’t have organised cleanups on all of them.  But we can show people how to do it easily.  Grab a group of friends, head out to your local beach and get geared up for some ‘nurdling’!

For more information on which beaches to head out to and how to help please checkout these links …

http://www.facebook.com/PlasticDisasterHongKong

http://www.facebook.com/DBGreenHK

http://hongkongcoastwatch.blogspot.hk/

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