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Beat the Trash! Stanley Beach Clean Up Brings Fun to Volunteering

By Contributed content 22 July 2016
With litter piling up across Hong Kong's shores, it seems the issue of beach pollution is only getting worse. But one group of Hong Kong residents are not standing for it and taking matters into their own hands - quite literally - while adding a little fun along the way. We catch up with Matt Doherty, organiser of this Sunday's Stanley Beach Clean Up, to find out more. If you’ve been paying attention the last few weeks, you’ve probably heard about, or more likely seen, the appalling states of the beaches and coastlines around Hong Kong. Rubbish littered across entire beaches and floating assemblies of waste polluting the sea water - it’s an endemic problem for our city that has triggered an overwhelming consensus among residents that something needs to be done, now. [caption id="attachment_63029" align="aligncenter" width="660"]rubbish A rubbish situation[/caption] Scores of individuals and groups are emerging, with concerned residents not content with taking a back seat on the issue. With increasing initiatives and calls to the Government for intervention, it’s a promising sign from the impassioned Hong Kong public. While this surge of public interest and desire for action is definitely a step in the right direction, voluntary clean ups aren’t able to offer much to the volunteers in return for their work. As well as a lack of budget, which can be constraining and make it difficult to give back to volunteers, the underlying consensus is often that organisers and events shouldn’t be giving anything back, because to do so might compromise the authenticity of a genuine contribution. The repercussions of this issue and its sentiments are often unknowingly passed on or underestimated and as a result, people, especially the younger generations, tend to associate clean ups with active discontent, a lack of variety or ingenuity in events, and a negative public response to receiving anything beneficial in return. However, we hope to change this way of thinking with the Stanley Bean Clean Up. Focused on giving back as much positivity to the volunteers as possible, the initiative looks to integrate aspects of water sport, creativity, and health awareness into its clean up efforts. As well as providing sponsored food and drink for volunteers, we are also hosting a free yoga class, and have arranged a live interactive installation to be created by SCAD art and design students using the rubbish we collect. We also have a few stand up paddle boards available for those who wish to conduct a sea clean up. We're looking to create a fun and productive atmosphere and attitude toward the day and give all volunteers a great day to remember. [caption id="attachment_63030" align="aligncenter" width="660"]beach 2 Every little helps![/caption] This is the second clean up we have organised on Stanley Beach, and after the amazing turn-out and wonderful energy we received last time, where we removed well over 150 sacks of rubbish from the beaches, sea, and rocks, we expect more than 130 people to show up this Sunday. The goal is ultimately to address the indifference a lot of people feel toward beach clean ups due to this issue of ‘genuine participation’, by advocating a progressive, community driven clean up lifestyle that encourages people to get involved in conservation work, by sending the message that it's okay to have fun while doing so. Want to get involved? If you want to do something about the polluted state of Hong Kong’s shorelines, and enjoy yourself while you do it, head down to Stanley Main Beach this Sunday July 24, and take part in the beach clean up.
Read more! Check out the Top 5 Hong Kong Beaches, and read how Hong Kongers are helping the city's Caged Home Community.

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