Engineers do care about the environment. A group of enthusiastic Young Members from IMechE Hong Kong Branch gathered at Lung Kwu Tan, Tuen Mun on 24 October 2009 contributing their effort in keeping our coastline clean. This is part of the International Coastal Cleanup campaign initiated by Ocean Conservancy and coordinated by the Green Council in Hong Kong region.
It is important to diagnose where the pollutants come from in order to stop it effectively. In addition to collecting and removing debris, we recorded the types of debris we picked up, which form part of the research of identifying major sources of debris and activities that contribute to the pollution problem. The research findings would be used to educate the public, business, industry and government authorities of the problem and hope long-lasting solutions can be formed to protect our ocean and the marine life.
Non-biodegradable plastics form long lasting pollution to our ocean. After 2 hours of hard work, we collected 28 kg of trash along the beach, despite the fact that Food and Environmental Hygiene Department has already come round earlier in the morning. From our statistics, over half of pollutants that we collected are debris from recreational activities such as beverage bottles, plastic bags, cups, plates, forks, knives and spoons, etc. Most of them are made of plastics that will not be degraded within 100 years so that caused much of the problem.
This cleanup might not do much as there are so many coastal venues in Hong Kong. The idea behind is significant and we hope our act can raise the public awareness in help keeping our coast clean. We hope more people will join us next year and spread the word that engineers are accountable to the society and we care about the environment that we live in.