Since the Harbour Area Treatment Scheme (HATS) and extension of the sewerage programmes to cover 93% of the population, marine water quality in Hong Kong has been improving since 2002. Compliance with the Water Quality Objectives for Victoria Harbour improved from 50% in 2001 to 77% in 2014. The water quality of the Harbour will further improve after the full implementation of the HATS Stage 2A later this year. To further reduce marine refuse, the Working Group on Clean Shorelines conducted the Marine Refuse Study.
The report says that more than 95% of marine refuse originates from local sources. And 80% of this locally generated waste comes from land-based sources – especially from shoreline and recreational activities – the result of littering and poor awareness by members of the community.
Of the non-natural waste more than 70% was made upo of plastic and foam plastic items. Non-local refuse (identified via its simplified Chinese character labels) made up less than 5% of the marine refuse collected.
THE EPD is looking at a three-pronged strategy to address the local marine refuse problem:
- reducing overall waste generation at source
- reducing the amount of refuse entering the marine environment
- removing the marine refuse.
The five key measures devised to implement the strategy are:
- publicity campaigns and education activities
- support measures
- facilities to reduce refuse entering the marine environment
- stepped-up efforts to remove marine refuse
- engaging the public to report marine littering and refuse problemsThe report also shows that the prevailing wind direction has a marked effect on refuse accumulation, particularly in the Tuen Mun, Tsuen Wan, Southern and Islands Districts. It identifies 27 priority sites prone to refuse accumulation where cleaning frequency will be increased.
The EPD will also launch a monthly Shorelines Cleanup Day with schools and community groups as co-organisers.
(The full report is available at www.epd.gov.hk/epd/clean_shorelines)