Hong Kong Community Joins hands to Clean Up post-Typhoon Mangkhut

Although a few cleanup teams gathered on the 15th of September in Hong Kong, they had to postpone the World Cleanup Day event because of one of the biggest typhoon there. A week later, on the 22nd and 23rd of September, Hong Kong Cleanup organised a coastal cleanup at Silverstrand Beach where volunteers came together […]

Although a few cleanup teams gathered on the 15th of September in Hong Kong, they had to postpone the World Cleanup Day event because of one of the biggest typhoon there. A week later, on the 22nd and 23rd of September, Hong Kong Cleanup organised a coastal cleanup at Silverstrand Beach where volunteers came together to clear away the plastic and rubbish caused by the Typhoon Mangkhut.

Community spirit and solidarity extended citywide last week as Hongkongers took to the beaches, oceans, streams, streets and villages to help clean up the damage caused by Typhoon Mangkhut. Over the week after the typhoon hit, an estimated 168,750 volunteers supported clean-up efforts, all over Hong Kong.

“Typhoon Mangkhut has gone, but its damage remains. Hong Kong Cleanup has been coordinating efforts intensively over the last week, working with government, green groups, schools and individuals across the territory, and facilitating the huge number of enquiries from people who wish to help. Our aim is to mobilise 350,000 citizens, representing 5 percent of Hong Kong’s population. Studies show that this is an important number. Engaging even 5 percent of a community effects long-term behaviour change, which is what we desperately need. So far, over 150,000 Hongkongers have rallied to support clean-ups all over the territory,” said Lisa Christensen, Founder of Hong Kong Cleanup and Ambassador of both World Cleanup Day and Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup.

The day before Typhoon Mangkhut blew through Hong Kong, the annual World Cleanup Day was held in cities and territories worldwide. This year was set to be the largest clean-up in Hong Kong’s history, however the arrival of the typhoon meant that activities were postponed to this past weekend. Since Typhoon Mangkhut, community-wide action to clean up coastlines, waterways and neighbourhoods was seen in every district of Hong Kong, with friendship groups, families and schools working together to help clear debris and rubbish.

“Hong Kong throws away 5.2 million bottles every single day and we have a serious addiction to styrofoam. With landfills under pressure, and beaches awash with plastic, we need to wise up, and perhaps it’s time to ban disposables like many other countries are doing,” said Lisa.

“We are encouraged by the efforts made by the government and the community to clean up. We hope every participant will take home the message that we are creating more waste than nature can handle. We need to start over and make an immediate behaviour change to reduce single use plastics,” explains Tansy Tom-Lau, Co-founder of Eco Drive, a participant and supporter of the event.

“The community has come together like never before, organising themselves via hundreds of WhatsApp groups set up district by district,” continued Lisa. “So far, there have been around 500 Whatsapp driven ‘pop-up clean-ups’ over the past week with volunteers putting their hands up to help. It really is quite a phenomenon and to my knowledge we have never before seen such mass engagement across our wider community to help clean our city, and we believe it will continue!” said Lisa.