October 28, 2021

Tatler Took On the Adventure Clean Up Challenge

28 October 2021 – The Tatler team spent a morning clearing trash near Clearwater Bay as part of Hong Kong’s Adventure Clean Up Challenge, but it was only a drop in the ocean – by Aaron Safir

Hong Kong’s easily accessible beach sites are regularly cleaned by government services and community groups. The Adventure Clean Up Challenge is about paying attention to the coasts and cliffs that are harder to reach, and where trash has been accumulating for years. After dismissing some sites as too easy, the team settled on a small pebbled beach near Pan Lon Wan, accessed by a 15-minute hike that requires ducking under tree branches, and walking across a small flimsy bridge made of what looks like a repurposed flooring board.

Arriving on the beach, and seeing the sheer amount of waste strewn across it, put a dent in their spirits: the small team could have spent the entire weekend on the beach, and still not have collected all the waste around us. And hauling all that waste back up the narrow path to the village would have taken another weekend.

In a few hours, the team collected the equivalent of 40 refuse bags – nearly half of it bulky plastic bottles. A drop in the ocean perhaps, but a start. Along the way to the trash collection point the team told villagers what they were up to. They posted on social media, and told their friends and families. And they are spreading the word within Tatler, to raise awareness of the problem of waste pollution, and highlight the ways they can all help.

Cleaning up a hard-to-reach beach is clearly one way of helping, and an active and enjoyable one too. But as they picked up what must have been the 100th plastic bottle, they realised that the actions they all take every day are even more important. Behind every discarded plastic bottle, washed-up polystyrene food container, forgotten mahjong tile, and lost beach ball is a person and a story.

And by cutting out single use plastic, recycling, choosing brands with less plastic packaging, and many other small things, each of us, every day, has the power to change that story.