Marine debris was found at Hong Kong beaches. Photo: Asia Times
Marine debris was found at Hong Kong beaches. Photo: Asia Times

Eight hundred French nationals rolled up their sleeves and collected more than 7,000 kg of rubbish from 23 Hong Kong beaches on Saturday.

The volunteers went to beaches around the territory, picking up cigarette butts, plastic bags, broken tyres and even oil barrels, Oriental Daily reported.

Rubbish collected in Southern district exceeded 4,000 kg, while the hauls from Discovery Bay and Sai Kung weighed more than 1,000 kg and 950 kg respectively.

People of different nationalities hold the same responsibility to protect Hong Kong’s environment, said the event’s organizer Francois Dremeaux, of the Surfrider Foundation. He appealed to the public to reduce their use of plastic products and increase recycling.

The sources of rubbish in Hong Kong are varied, with some coming from local neighbourhoods and fishing boats and a lot of waste washing down from Guangdong province, Dremeaux said, adding that waste in the ocean can affect public health through contaminating fish stocks.

According to Sing Pao, Hong Kong’s Under Secretary for the Environment, Christine Loh Kung-wai, said the government cleaned up 16,000 tonnes of rubbish last year and has allocated more resources to addressing the problem. She also said the government was discussing the matter with officials in Guangdong.