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Newsletter February 2016
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What do plastic bags, biodiversity and Zika Virus have in common?

Plastic bags, bottles, packaging and containers from all manner of products can be found on our beaches, mangroves and waterways.  Hong Kong's rich biodiversity of Green Sea Turtles, Horseshoe crabs, Romer's Tree Frog as well as many other species of amphibians, crabs and terrestrial life can be severely impacted by a build up of long standing plastic rubbish.

Whilst Hong Kong is not a Zika Virus hotspot, there are issues with other mosquito borne viruses such as Dengue Fever and Japanese Encephalitis. Cleaning up garbage, in particular plastic waste that can hold water for mosquitos to lay their eggs in, is always listed as a priority action to prevent the spread of disease.   

What would happen then if plastic marine and land pollution was responded to as a public health issue?  Would this ensure more resources and a change of strategy was implemented with more source reduction policies and better waste management practices rather than end of the line cleanup 'solutions'?  

The Hong Kong Government has called for a public response to their
Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (BSAP) (the consultation period is from 8th Jan - 7th April 2016). Presently there is no mention of an action plan in BSAP for land or marine plastic pollution, yet we see how much of an impact it is having on the rich and diverse biodiversity that Hong Kong has.  We can't just continue doing endless beach, land and waterway cleanups without the political (and Corporate) will to tackle plastic pollution at the source points such as over packaging, poor product design, inadequate recycling and poor waste infrastructure.  We have an opportunity now to link healthy habitats, human health and political action to ensure a cleaner, healthier Hong Kong.  Please let the HKSAR Government know: slow action on plastic pollution is not acceptable.

 
"Healthy landscapes that are rich in biodiversity and clean of plastic, rather than widespread spraying of pesticides, is the key to controlling mosquito-borne diseases like malaria and Zika virus". according to a leading epidemiologist.

"The world has changed dramatically in the past 40 years with regard to increasing the habitat for Aedes aegypti breeding. An explosion of plastic..." Read more
Plastic Free Seas in action:

To see all events for February click here.

On land
February saw PFS engage over 500 students throughout Hong Kong. Events included a microbeads workshop, school talks, Agents of Change ESF Conference  and many interviews and actions for school projects.
On the beach
Five beaches around HK were cleaned this month by 436  volunteers.  The usual finds of single-use 'disposable' plastic were everywhere.  The best find though went to the Carousel Horse still on a pole!  Anything can end up in the sea!
Out at sea
The collaboration with HKU to quantitate the micro plastics in the Sea Classroom trawl samples started this month.  Sites sampled included Lamma Island, Po Toi / Beafourt Island and Aberdeen.  Lots of counting for the students!
Funding Appeal - Thank You! 
The PFS Sea Classroom will be expanding the program to include Primary students THIS WEEK!  
Thank you very much to the donors who supported last month's appeal to buy smaller sized life jackets. We have almost met our target can you help us reach HKD $10,000?  
Donate
Plastic Free Seas is grateful for the generosity and support from individuals, companies, schools and foundations to fund our education programs.  If you want to contribute, your donation large or small will help continue to run the PFS land, beach and sea activities.
Plastic Straw Campaign:
Each day hundreds of thousands of single use plastic straws are used briefly and discarded in Hong Kong. These plastic straws end up in landfill, in the streets, on our beaches and in the sea. For most people, and for most drinks, they are completely unnecessary. We use them because of habit. We are given them because of habit. But we have a choice - we can say no to plastic straws! We can USE LESS and WASTE LESS.  See how you can make a difference here.

February Eco-tip:  

Hong Kong has been celebrating Earth Hour since 2009!  Every year, countless landmarks and iconic buildings go dark across the renowned Victoria Harbor Skyline.  This year, while thinking about how your small part in turning off your lights can have such a huge impact on the reduction of carbon emissions, think about one small thing that you could also do to reduce your plastic footprint on this Earth.  Small things such as committing to refusing plastic straws in drinks or a plastic bag whilst shopping or signing a petition urging the government to ban plastic micro beads. These small things, when multiplied by millions of people, can have a huge impact on our plastic footprint and our future.

Upcoming Events:  

Earth Hour - Mar 19th, 8:30p.m. local time
Beach Cleanup
- Mar 20th Discovery Bay (Nim Shue Wan) 9-11am

In the News:

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www.plasticfreeseas.org

Our mailing address is:
Plastic Free Seas Ltd.
PO Box 290, Tung Chung, Lantau Island, Hong Kong

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