Hong Kong’s Plastic-Pellet Problem: Its Beaches Are Littered with Millions of Them

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Tyrone Siu / Reuters

Volunteers pick up plastic pellets on a beach on Lamma Island, in Hong Kong, on Aug. 5, 2012

Hundreds of millions of tiny plastic pellets have peppered the beaches of Hong Kong following a powerful typhoon, and now a major cleanup effort focuses on the minutiae.

Typhoon Vicente — the worst to hit the city in 13 years — rocked boats last month, tipping six cargo containers into the sea south of Hong Kong. Inside those containers were millions upon millions of nurdles, tiny plastic pellets used in factories to create other plastic products. And now the raindrop-size plastic bits have started to wash ashore. Despite what it looks like, no, it isn’t snow.

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While an obvious eyesore and trash hazard for the beaches, there’s a bigger concern over having millions of the tiny, translucent pellets bobbing around: the threat to marine life. Environmentalists now worry that the roughly 150 tons of pellets spilled will prove toxic by absorbing pollutants in the water, which could infect marine life, especially as fish start to ingest them. And if dangerous to fish, they could also be dangerous to the humans eating such fish. As the Associated Press reported, there are also concerns that the Chinese white dolphin, already a rare species, could be further threatened by the nurdles.

Hundreds of volunteers have jumped on the cleanup effort, working through the weekend in residential communities on Lamma Island, just south of the city center, and Discovery Bay, on Lantau Island, after finding their waterfront areas inundated with the pellets. But cleaning them up proved a daunting, tedious task as volunteers used brushes and dustpans to slowly pick up the debris, making only slight headway into the mess. “It’s a bit overwhelming. It seems like we can’t get rid of them even though there are hundreds of people here,” Mathis Antony, a volunteer on Lamma Island, told the Associated Press. “It looks like it’s going to take a lot more to clean it up.”

The Hong Kong government plans to send in paid reinforcements, hiring workers to spend what could be months cleaning up the mess on 10 different beaches across the territory. Estimates say that about 150 tons of the pellets spilled, and 50 tons were picked up still in the bags marked with the manufacturer. With about 21 tons washed ashore, it’s little surprise that such tiny particles are causing a massive headache for cleanup crews.

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11 comments
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NoBigGovDuh
NoBigGovDuh

HELLO USE A SHOP VAC THEY CAN HANDLE THE WATER!!!

THEN JUST SEPARATE THEM LATER.

Lee Kong
Lee Kong

ThreeSixty in Central to Close Down

So this is not an official report but the rumor mill in Hong Kong has the word out thatThreeSixty, in Hong Kong’s lively business district located in The Landmark building, is shutting down. Why is this? Well, take a wild guess……..More Luxury Brand stores. We can only guess that this location is attempting to attract more mainland customers who are most likely to visit stores in Central.

Remember the Pedder Building which had Shanghai Tang as its anchor tenant among the famous dim sum restaurant above it? This was a huge change and takeover to be give to the Western retailer Abercrombie amp; Fitch (now under construction). There was a lot of public outcry with this change to help save the location, but as the timing of most projects in Hong Kong the deal is signed and sealed by the time it gets out to the public.

http://www.hongkonglife.org/20...

 

Lee Kong
Lee Kong

Mainland Tourists Spend Less in Hong Kong

This report found on YouTube indicates that tourists from the Mainland are spending less in Hong Kong, especially on luxury goods. It will be the lowest level of purchases for Hong Kong retailers in the past three years. How long this trend will last is an unknown, but for sure consumers are tightening their belts.

We previously reported the fact ThreeSixty at Landmark, Central Hong Kong, would be shut down to be replaced by more luxury stores to attract more mainland tourists. This disturbing news caught our attention as ThreeSixty is the largest organic food store in Hong Kong with a location that attracts many loyal consumers. This move would definitely  quality of the life for the local community. Although we want the Hong Kong economy to stay strong, we don’t want to compromise it’s citizens and strongly oppose the closing of ThreeSixty. Let’s see what happens.

http://www.hongkonglife.org/20...

 

Lee Kong
Lee Kong

Are you guys aware of the issue, regarding in Hong Kong lifestyle, economy growth and any other issues like three sixty?

I'm afraid of what will be the next thing will happen. I live in Hong kong, and I love my country where I have first open my eyes. I have also read in a website.  http://www.hongkonglife.org/  hope that you guys, can also check it out!

 

rideforever
rideforever

You f*cking IDIOTS !

That's the whole human race I am talking about.

Andrew Kamadulski
Andrew Kamadulski

Pollutants are going to INFECT marine life? The author doesn't understand the concept of infection.

Jon Gibson
Jon Gibson

I hope millions of people DO start getting poisoned to death by trash....  yes, i really mean that.

Field_Soldier
Field_Soldier

They need to get some Shop-Vacs out there

Fatesrider
Fatesrider

 You gonna run the fifteen thousand miles of extension cords that would take?

Albert Shortleg Dachshund-Dogg
Albert Shortleg Dachshund-Dogg

HUMANS !!!!! uggh ! I get yell at for making pee pee on the floor, and humans get nothing for slowly destroying the planet we SHARE ! WOOF (in disgust)