One of the best things to come out of this plastic crisis is the way that NGO’s and the Government have joined together to unite with a single goal, clean the seas and beaches to make the marine environment safe as fast as possible. As we travel along this path, trust is being built on all sides and real inter-department co-ordination is happening on a massive scale. NGO’s are working to co-ordinate thousands of volunteers from the public to beaches that need attention most, whilst working with Gov’t departments on removal of the rubbish. Sinopec are assisting where possible and have brought in some huge suction devices that were tested yesterday to remove pellets from within small rocky spaces with great results. The coordination is fantastic to see, everyone is putting all their cards on the table, no hidden agendas, just let’s get it done……now!
If you would have told me two weeks ago that Sea Shepherd would be cleared to operate joint search missions in a GFS (Government Flying Services) helicopter with the Hong Kong Marine Department, I would think you were mad! One of the primary roles that Sea Shepherd Hong Kong have played in this whole operation is the Search and Recovery operations. Either by helicopter or small boats we have been working to create an up to date picture of the entire south coasts of Hong Kong, identifying hot spots so that we can relay to other NGO’s and the FEHD/MD where to assign resources of manpower and equipment. Our effectiveness was highlighted last week when we found the 5th container on a private chartered flight paid for by the Shipping Company.
Yesterday I joined Marine Department to recon the west end of Hong Kong and photograph and video the coastlines so that we can further analysis. We were also keeping our eyes peeled for the 6th container, but no joy so far!
At the same time Dr Andy Cornish and his team from WWF HK went to Beaufort Island to work on cleaning up more of the debris from Container 5 in this isolated part of Hong Kong. Great report back from them that only one more day should be needed there and FEHD has confirmed that they will also have crews there to help complete. Ocean Park, DB Green and Ecovision Asia were working on the new joint NGO/Gov operation HK Plastic Pellet Patrol which assigns different NGO’s different areas of Hong Kong to be responsible for and to co-ordinate volunteer clean up crews and open up a communication and report network with beach guardians watching each beach and reporting back the status of each beach.
The one thing that has happened here is seeing who has stepped up and who has not, and there have been some surprises. The first to contact us to offer assistance was Sinopec, followed the next day by the Shipping Company. Then Ocean Park called and brought all of their resources to the table. They were then joined by the team from WWF HK and then Ecovision Asia who organise the International Coastal Cleanup every year. All these NGO’s have huge databases of volunteers and there support in this is so valuable to a positive outcome.
Sadly while all this positive action is going on, all we see in the media are those NGO’s who did not care a week ago when they were informed and asked for help. Now it has became a big story, they jump into the media spotlight spouting statements to the media about what they are doing, what should be done and how bad the Government and Sinopec are. Even more sad is that the bulk of the media are only interested in listening to them, as they are saying exactly what the media wants them to say, rather than the true story which doesn’t sell newspapers. Last night we all watched the news as Greenpeace HK made complete fools of themselves.
There are players and spectators, those that do something and those who stand on the sidelines criticizing everyone rather than joining in and working to fix the problem. Greenpeace are a moneymaking machine who so far have done absolutely nothing to contribute to fixing Hong Kong’s problems. They should be ashamed of themselves….