The appearance of a huge amount of rubbish along Hong Kong’s shores and harbours over the past week has alarmed both environmentalists and residents, with many raising awareness of the issue on social media and calling for the government to act.

Save Aberdeen Harbour Alliance posted pictures of the trash around the harbour in Aberdeen last week, while other Facebook users have contributed photos of their own. In one of them, boats appeared to be floating amid a sea of trash.

Photo: Save Aberdeen Harbour Alliance 守護香港仔海港聯盟.

The group said that it was “some of the most serious instances of marine debris on the shores of Hong Kong’s beaches and harbours in living memory,” and that it was a result of the government’s failure to address the issue.

Photo: Save Aberdeen Harbour Alliance 守護香港仔海港聯盟.

It urged the public to write to the government and register a complaint, as well as record it on the Global Alert marine debris app.

On Facebook group “Hong Kong Marine Lap Sap not Serious – says govt report,” netizens posted pictures of similar occurrences at Cheung Sha Beach on Lantau, Ma Hang Park in Stanley, and Cheung Chau.

Environmental activist group Sea Shepherd said on Monday that they were seeing “an unprecedented amount of household trash washing up on our southern beaches” in Hong Kong. It said that many of it is Hong Kong’s own trash, as seen from the brands and labels, while others originated from mainland, washed down along the Pearl River Delta.

Photo: Sea Shepherd.

It also said that other potential sources of the rubbish include a trash dump on an island named Wei Ling Ding, as well as a large amount of household trash dumped, possibly illegally, into the Pearl River. The latter would normally be taken away out into the South China Sea, but the change of wind and currents has brought it back to our shores, it said.

While the island is unlikely to be the sole cause of the recent occurrences, the problem must be addressed, the group said.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.