INFO · Search
· Chinese version · Subscribe

environment

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 …

Health & Environment

Flexitarian: an easy way to go green

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Sharon Pun、Candice WongEdited by: Richelia Yeung、Ellen He
  • 2017-11-21

To become a flexible vegetarian in Hong Kong "I'd like to have the Pesto Chicken Salad, but please take away the chicken," said Ms. Chan at a bakery cafe. Her friend surprisingly asked her, "What? You're taking away the best part of the dish!" This is a situation often encountered by Chan Wun, but her diet habit is different from that of traditional "vegetarians". She is a member of a rising group, "flexitarians", a combination of "flexible" and "vegetarians". The number of flexitarians rose from 5% in 2008 to 22% in 2016, while vegetarians only account for 3% of Hong Kong's population. Up till 2017, over 1,000 restaurants in Hong Kong have joined an initiative programme to offer vegetarian-friendly menus, according to a social startup, Green Monday. "In order to lose weight, I had become a vegetarian for around two months during high school," said Ms. Chan, an 18-year-old university student. She had no choice but to constantly ordered Indian curry since it was the only vegetarian choice at school. Things become more difficult during family gatherings. When Ms. Chan's mother cooks vegetarian meals for her non-vegetarian father and brother often complain that the meals lacked protein. "It is difficult to avoid eating meat especially when we are living in Chinese culture where specific cuisines and dishes will be offered during celebratory events and festivals," said Ms. Chan. "Then I decided to quit because of inconvenience, time cost and expense." Instead of being a strict vegetarian, she opted for a flexitarian-style diet. In fact, the problem was not faced just by Ms. Chan when she was a vegetarian. To Hiu-yan, 20, a university student who has been a vegetarian for two years, said that the once-athlete started this eating habit to keep fit.   Ms. To said she faced limited …