Black rubber-like crumbs have washed ashore around Lantau’s Discovery Bay.

Photo: Dana Winograd/Plastic Free Seas.

Dana Winograd of NGO Plastic Free Seas told HKFP that she first heard reports of the pollution on Tuesday. She said she saw “odd-shaped piece of what I think is astroturf crumbs – rubber or tyre-like pieces of material. There’s a lot washing in – it sinks down to the bottom of the sea bed, with a lot lying on the nearby shoreline.”

Winograd said her team used sieves and mesh bags to collect the substance.

She added that she was happy to see the Marine Department eventually respond, but was disappointed that the government did not have an emergency response plan for spillages: “I would have hoped that after the plastic pellet spill in 2012 and the palm oil spill of a couple of summers ago that the government departments would have learned their lesson.”

Photo: Dana Winograd/Plastic Free Seas.

Winograd said that – by around noon – Marine Department contractors had collected around 245kg by her observation, whilst her NGO collected around 145kg.

HKFP has reached out to the Marine Department for comment.

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Tom is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hong Kong Free Press. He has a BA in Communications & New Media from Leeds University and an MA in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong. He has contributed to the BBC, Euronews, Quartz, Global Post and others.