Tung Wan Tsai (Coral Beach) this morning
How a portion of the beach looked in September 2017 :(
How roughly that same portion of the beach looked
post beach clean-up today! :)
Earlier today, I took part in my final beach clean-up of 2018 at Cheung Chau's Tung Wan Tsai (Coral Beach). As has come to be usual, the beach clean-up crew consisted of both first-time beach clean-up participants and visitors to Tung Wan Tsai along with those who now are very familiar with the drill and situation at the beach in northeast Cheung Chau.
I found the different reactions to what we saw as we approached the beach (by way of a hike that takes around 45 minutes in hot weather but only took half an hour or so today, during which temperatures ranged from around 12 to 16 degrees Celsius) pretty illuminating. More specifically, the regulars among us got to remarking how much cleaner Tung Wan Tsai looked compared to the last couple of times that we had seen it -- which makes sense since this past month, no typhoon visited Hong Kong (like was the case two months ago) and it wasn't even all that rainy (after the rain is when one regularly sees the waters of Hong Kong at their most debris filled) -- whereas the first time visitors to the beach were horrified by how much trash was strewn about on it!
One reason for the first timers' shock is that there really is quite a lot of trash on Tung Wan Tsai thanks to this beach having the misfortune of having currents wash ashore garbage from not only other parts of Hong Kong but also Mainland China (we find quite a bit of stuff with simplified Chinese and Mainland Chinese phone numbers on their labels) and Macau (for the record: today was the first time I found empty drinks packets and such bearing "packaged in Macau" labels). It also can be true enough that, as one woman expressed today, no environmentalist video she saw or news article she read was able to prepare her for the reality of how much trash can be found on a single beach in her home territory.
I definitely remember how horrified I was the first time I went to Tung Wan Tsai to work on cleaning up the beach. Indeed, so aghast was I at how things looked there that I couldn't bring myself to take any photographs at the beach the first two times that I took part in a beach clean-up there -- and, instead, only felt comfortable taking photos of another cleaner beach in Cheung Chau that my group had gone to do a beach clean-up at in between my first and second Tung Wan Tsai beach clean-up sessions!
Considering that the tides deliver trash daily (and often right when we are conducting beach clean-ups) to the beach, our beach clean-up efforts can seem positively Sisyphean. At the same time though, I look at photos of Tung Wan Tsai in September 2017, when I returned to work on it (after having taken part in beach clean-ups elsewhere in Hong Kong, including Chi Ma Wan and Lamma), and today and really can see quite a bit of improvement in the overall state of the place, especially at the end of today's beach clean-up. Consequently, I feel like I've got evidence to prove that we actually are making a difference against the odds! :)