In conjunction with Ocean Park, the Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, Hong Kong (OPCFHK) hosted the annual Ocean Park Conservation Day (Conservation Day) on 12-13 January 2019. Under the theme of “Save Our Oceans. Step Up for Plastic-Free Living!”, the two-day event aimed to raise public awareness of the impact of plastic pollution on wildlife through an array of fun activities including interactive games, orienteering activities, in-park eco-tours, and more. Researchers estimate that eight million metric tons of plastic end up in our oceans every year. OPCFHK believes that if all Hongkongers fully understand the huge impact that plastics - especially single-use plastics - have on the environment and marine ecosystems, they will feel compelled to take action. In addition to having fun and being inspired on plastic-free living, guests were also able to contribute to the conservation of Asian biodiversity when participating in Conservation Day. The Park will be donating all proceeds from admission ticket sales on 12 January to support OPCFHK’s wildlife conservation and research projects across Asia.
Green Sea turtle Installation Art
Ingesting plastic has life-threatening effects on wildlife and green sea turtles are among the species most affected by marine plastic pollution. OPCFHK has teamed up with local art group &dear to create a three-metre long green sea turtle sculpture that signifies how ocean plastics have become a growing global challenge. Up-cycled from about 1,000 plastic water bottles collected from around Hong Kong, the Instagram-worthy art piece serves as a visual reminder of the detrimental effects of plastic on marine ecosystems. Scientifically known as Chelonia mydas, adult green sea turtle can grow up to 1.5 metres in length and over 300 kilos in weight with a natural diet consisting of worms, jellyfishes, crustaceans, sponges, sea grasses and algae. Sadly, a recent study led by Dr Qamar Schuyler of the University of Queensland revealed that 52% of all sea turtles worldwide may have ingested marine debris including plastics; there is a one in five chance of death for a turtle who consumed just one piece of plastic. Guests were invited to complete the art installation by pledging to live a plastic-free lifestyle and rebuild the green sea turtle’s habitat.
Save Our Oceans. Step Up for Plastic-Free Living!
There’s plenty more for guests to learn and experience throughout the two-day event. OPCFHK hosted game booths, including marine animal face painting as well as DIY postcard workshop, all of which highlight the long-term threats of plastics to ocean ecosystems, marine life and humans. Upon completion of an engaging in-park orienteering activity, participants had the chance to redeem a set of marine-themed bamboo utensils to practise living with less plastic. Guests were also invited to join local experts for sharing sessions to learn more about their Asian conservation field trip experiences.
Be a Citizen Scientist
Members of Friends of the Foundation signed up for the complimentary in-park eco-tour, “Emerald Discovery Tour”, to explore Ocean Park’s amazing wildlife residents, including the Red-billed Blue Magpie and the critically endangered Blue-Crowned Laughingthrush. Moreover, participants took part in the joys of observing and recording species – they uploaded the information to the growing data of plants, animals, and other species spotted via the globally popular “iNaturalist” App at Ocean Park. Every contribution to the Park’s ecological survey will help provide quality research data for scientists around the world while promoting biodiversity conservation.