INFO · Search
· Chinese version · Subscribe


Ghost nets haunt Hong Kong waters, killing marine life and endangering divers

  • 2021-12-09

It took Harry Chan Tin-ming and a group of ten divers two hours under the sea in Tai Po to find and haul out 800 kilograms of abandoned fishing nets.  “90% of the time I go diving, I see ghost nets and it’s a big problem for marine life including fish, crabs, sea turtles and other marine life,” said Chan.  The large number of abandoned fishing nets, also known as “ghost nets”, is alarming and has become a major issue for marine life, its habitat and even commercial fishermen.  Chan, 68, known in Hong Kong as the “ghost net hunter”, has been diving for over 30 years and started regularly hunting for these nets more than eight years ago. “The ocean is a mystery,” he said.  Ghost nets are dangerous because marine life becomes entangled, affecting the health of the ocean and even divers who try removing them. They haunt the oceans and are a major contributor to the wider ocean plastic crisis. Made from a range of synthetic fibers, including nylon, polystyrene and other plastic compounds, ghost nets can travel vast distances.  "From the biggest fishing nets to the tiniest pellets, plastic pollution is impacting the ocean," said Dana Winograd, Director of Operations for Plastic Free Seas, a charity focused on solution-oriented awareness about plastic pollution in the ocean. It is also involved in regular beach cleanups around Hong Kong. In October, Winograd and a group of volunteers found ghost nets washed up on beaches in two of their last three beach cleanups at Butterfly Beach in Tuen Mun and Cheung Sha Lan on Lantau Island.  "It's not easy to recycle the nets if they have been in the ocean for a long time. Most companies claiming to use recycled fishing nets in their products are only using a …


Japan commemorates 10th anniversary of earthquake Sendai

Japan commemorated the event by a minute of silence for those who lost their lives in the earthquake. The Sendai earthquake, also known as the Tohoku earthquake with a magnitude of 9.1, triggered a tsunami that swept across the prefecture, making it one of the worst earthquakes since modern records began.

Health & Environment

COVID-19 lockdown in Majestic House, Tsim Sha Tsui

Another ambush-style lockdown is being implemented at Majestic House, 80 Nathan Road at the junction with Cameron Road in Tsim Sha Tsui on Monday evening. Large groups of police officers and medical workers have cordoned off the area while getting passers-by to leave the area. A 50-year-old man in Majestic House was confirmed to have COVID on 30 Jan, according to the Centre for Health Protection. Majestic House was first occupied in 1963 and has over 60 apartments. It is one of several residential blocks where people are subject to mandatory COVID-19 testing Monday evening. Other buildings include number 42-58A, On Hing Street in Yuen Long and Loong King Building on Ma Tau Wai Road in Hung Hom, according to the Food and Health Bureau. The Centre for Health Protection reported 34 new cases of COVID-19 in Hong Kong today. This comes after multiple lockdowns in Yau Tsim Mong district over the past week. There has been a visible cluster of growing cases in Tsim Sha Tsui over the past 14 days, according to the Centre for Health Protection website.

Culture & Leisure

New Fashion Trend: Generation Z Promotes The Rise of Second-hand Market

Nearly 30 people crowded in a 200 feet factory building units for buying clothes. Ms Athena Lau Ka Yi, an 18 years old secondary student, was holding four to five pieces of clothes in her hand, still looking for more items. Many young girls shuttled between the clothing rack, eager to hunt for treasure among the pile of clothes. In the crowded space, a secondhand clothing weekend market was organised, attracted many young girls, mainly 15 to 23 years old. There were over hundreds of clothes in the market. They all looked new, but were actually second-hand. Clothes were divided into different styles which all looked young and fresh, particularly targeting young customers. "It is so fun to shop here," Lau said, "whenever I find clothes I love, it feels like a treasure hunt." Lau enjoyed her secondhand shopping in this market so much, as the price was very affordable while quality was good. Most of them ranged from HK$50 to HK$100, some were only HK$30. "Lifexit" is the organiser of this secondhand clothing weekend market, who collaborated with three online secondhand shops, "Retrovert", "Asian Angel" and "Chan4room". Ms Coco Lam started up Lifexit to provide a space for people to relax and enjoy their peaceful moment. It locates at an industrial building unit in Kwun Tong, provides space to organise all kinds of activities. Secondhand clothing weekend market is a new try. "As I can see the secondhand clothing trend growing among young people nowadays, and the message behind buying secondhand is meaningful," Lam said, "that's why I organised this weekend market." She hoped, through this market, more people can get to know more about secondhand clothing culture in Hong Kong. Secondhand fashion trend is growing globally and rapidly. ThredUP, one of the largest consignment and thrift stores in …

A plate goes down your gullet to fight plastic waste

  • 2019-11-06

Made of wheat, taste like tree skin and hard to chew — it may not be the finest option if you are looking for appealing and delectable food to satisfy your appetite, nor is this the most ornamental tableware to plate up your meals. But for people who want to avoid single-use plastic crockery, an edible plate might be the perfect alternative to curb plastic waste. Paper plates normally take five years to decompose while plastic ones take at least 500 years, but an edible plate would disappear in 30 days if it is not eaten up. A Polish technology company, Biotrem, curated the eco-friendly plates with natural wheat bran by heating and compressing the wheat into solid dishes — a process that requires no fossil fuel at all. The plates can hold cold or warm food with a temperature up to 350°F, and are microwavable and ovenproof. GreenBB, a local social enterprise has been importing edible plates from Poland since they first found the organisation in 2018.  "Some environmental groups merely ask people to behave in certain ways to benefit the environment, but we would like to take a further step by motivating and inspiring people to protect the environment using creative ways," said Jayford Wong, founder of the enterprise. The group, which includes 20 young people, organises experimental activities like green parties and workshops with schools and NGOs in a bid to raise eco-consciousness in the city which produces the most plastic waste in the Asia-Pacific region, with a per person plastic disposal rate at around 400g every day.   "Our participants like the plates very much, not because of the taste but the fact that they are fully biodegradable. The plates will disappear from the Earth whether they like to finish them up or not," said Mr. Wong, who said he had …

Health & Environment

Hong Kong's first solar-powered food truck wins catering award

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Holly Chik、Michelle NgEdited by: Choy York Borg Paulus
  • 2017-11-07

Hong Kong's first green food truck won the Gold Prize of Catering in Traditional Cuisine of CLP's Greenplus Award Programme. The solar-power panels, which cost over $20,000, are installed on the vehicle's roof to supply electricity for fans and for customers to charge their electronic devices. "The eye-catching panels also demonstrates the eco-friendliness of the vehicle whereas other energy-saving measures are usually not obvious," said Trevor Ng, Managing Director of Pat Chun, who has been operating the $800,000 truck since March this year. The company also adopts an energy management system which can be operated with a smartphone to improve energy efficiency. "With the system, we can collect real-time energy consumption data and adjust the use of electricity," said Ng. For example, they can use the remaining heat generated by the automatic rice-fryer to cook their stewed beef brisket. To reduce interior temperature, they opted for a heat-resistant automatic rice-fryer. The solar panels on the roof also serve as a heat barrier during hotter days. A centrifugal range hood and a grease trap are also installed to collect used cooking oil that will be converted to biodiesel for the car. Ng said they save about 25% on their electricity bill after implementing these measures. Such environmental protection measures "mitigate climate change, lower business cost and create new business opportunities," said Philip Yung Wai-hung, Permanent Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development (Commerce, Industry and Tourism).  


Walking in Hong Kong

It says something about the possibility of having a walkable Hong Kong when artificial grass mats, splash pools, picnic tables and benches were placed on what used to be a heavily-congested Des Voeux Road Central in September last year. The government is working with NGOs to turn roads into more pedestrian-friendly and it maysurprise many that the city is currently having seven full-time pedestrian schemes and 30 part-time ones. "Walking can be safe, comfortable and interesting," said Maura Wong Hung-hung, Chief Executive Officer of the independent public think tank Civic Exchange. "That's why walking is a pleasure and something that people enjoy, they don't have to depend on vehicles," said Wong. The "Walk in Hong Kong" initiative, proposed by the Transport and Housing Bureau, was officially announce in the 2017 Policy Address on January 18. It aims to promote walkability, which is related to connectivity of streets in Hong Kong. Working on pedestrian environment, the initiative will implement multiple new measures based on four themes. According to the Legislative Council Paper, it will provide user-friendly information on walking routes, enhance pedestrian network connection, make walking a pleasant experience and provide a safe and quality pedestrian environment. Civic Exchange introduced a new initiative in December 2016, "Walkability", to advocate walking in the city. The new initiative also encourages the government and different sectors to take a "people-first" approach in urban planning. For instance, meetings and seminars will be organized to foster citizens' understanding about the concept of walkability. "Pedestrian should play a priority role in the city's development, including the transportation strategy," said Wong. Civic Exchange also introduced the WALKScore in December 2016, a tool to measure walkability in Hong Kong. It takes into consideration the city's density, mixed-land use, constant traffic, hilly topography and other challenges. From its data, Mongkok …

Health & Environment

Plastic free for marine creatures

  • 2017-04-22

The first thing Lin Guan Yi does in everyday morning is to open Facebook page and check orders for glass straws, yet she doesn't sell them for money. Instead, she sells glass straws for the turtles. Founded in 2016, 4theturtles aims for promoting glass straws to replace plastic straws. Lin, a financial manager, works part-timely for 4theturtles. This Taiwan-based environmentally friendly organization is encouraged by a popular YouTube video in which a turtle's respiratory tract is inserted by a plastic straw. Plastic straws and stirrers, along with other plastic products, are listed as top ten categories of coastal floating litter, according to a report published by World Wide Fund (WWF) Hong Kong. Marine litter has become a hit topic in recent years. In Hong Kong, there're at least more than ten non-profit organizations which have delivered this issue. Among them WWF Hong Kong plays a leading role. Started from 2014 by WWF Hong Kong, Costal Watch is a project providing a long-term resolution for marine litter. It focuses on analysing the importance of solving the marine litter problem and raising people's awareness of being green in order to reduce litter at source. In "Costal Watch – Turning Tide Against Marine Litter", its annual research report, WWF Hong Kong pointed out that plastic debris is a huge threat to marine ecosystems. The Coastal Watch team did surveys in cooperation with local fishing communities. They found that plastic debris makes up most of the marine litter found along Hong Kong shorelines. "The plastic debris could cause two problems. One is that marine creatures will be entangled by it. Another is that fish consumed plastic, which directly affects the health of the fish and the whole food chain, meaning that human health will be affected," said Yeung Chung-wing, Project Manager of Coastal Watch. …

Rough road ahead

  • 2014-05-05
  • 2014-05-05

Patients with physical disabilities face obstacles on their way to hospital due to the city's lack of barrier-free facilities.

A fancy or a fallacy?

  • 2014-01-15
  • 2014-01-15

Does this new way of making ice cream really save energy?