Ocean Park Conservation Day 2019 to Raise Awareness on
Environmental Impact of Marine Plastics
For Immediate Release
(8 January 2019, Hong Kong) In conjunction with Ocean Park, the Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, Hong Kong (OPCFHK) today kicked off the 24th annual Ocean Park Conservation Day (Conservation Day). Taking place on 12-13 January 2019 under the theme of “Save Our Oceans. Step Up for Plastic-Free Living!”, the two-day event aims to raise public awareness on the impact of plastic pollution on wildlife through an array of fun activities including interactive games, orienteering activities, in-park eco-tours and more. In addition to having fun and being inspired to live a plastic-free life, guests will be able to contribute to the conservation of Asian biodiversity through participating in Conservation Day.
Ms. Judy Chen, Foundation Chair of OPCFHK shared during the opening remarks, “It is estimated that eight million metric tons of plastics end up in our oceans every year. OPCFHK believes that if all Hongkongers fully understand the huge impact plastics have on the environment and marine ecosystems, they will feel compelled to take action. As such, we’re dedicating this year’s Ocean Park Conservation Day to raise public awareness and encourage Hongkongers to actively reduce their daily use of disposable plastics in the long run to save our oceans.”
Mr. Wong Kam-Sing, Secretary for the Environment, HKSAR remarked, “The Foundation has not only supported species and habitat conservation by funding scientific researches, but also dedicated efforts to eco-education to bring our young generation closer to nature, and let them learn and appreciate the importance of local biodiversity and nature conservation. The theme of this year’s Ocean Park Conservation Day and the No Straw Campaign launched by OPCFHK echo well with the recent efforts by the government and community in promoting the reduction of disposable plastic use. I have great confidence that all of Hong Kong can step up and lead a plastic-free lifestyle whether through small actions of source waste reduction – cutting back on single use cutlery and straws, or bringing their own shopping bags and bottles! Let’s ‘Dump Less, Save More’.”
Mr. Matthias Li, Chief Executive of Ocean Park said, “Ocean Park is pleased to work closely with the Ocean Park Conservation Foundation once again to enhance Hong Kong’s public awareness towards protecting biodiversity and the environment. Adding to the HK$3.2 million already raised through Conservation Day 2018, Ocean Park will donate all proceeds from admission ticket sales on 12 January 2019 to support OPCFHK’s wildlife conservation and research projects across Asia.”
Save Our Oceans. Step Up for Plastic-Free Living!
At the kick-off ceremony, celebrity and animal-lover Elaine Yiu and OPCFHK’s University Student Sponsorship Programme (USSP) alumni shared fond memories of the beautiful wildlife that they came across in their respective trips and research excursions, including manta rays and bangggai cardianalfish. Since the launch of the USSP 15 years ago, over 380 local university students have experienced real-life conservation on the field. Elaine and USSP alumni also encouraged the public to learn more about Hong Kong’s rich biodiversity and conservation during the two-day event. Moreover, guests are invited to join sharing sessions by USSP participants to understand more about their Asian conservation field trip experiences on Sunday, 13 January 2019.
There is plenty more for guests to learn and experience. OPCFHK will host game booths, including marine animal face painting and 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 will have the chance to redeem a set of marine-themed bamboo utensils to practise living with less plastic.
In addition, 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 more than 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.
As VIPs of OPCFHK experienced for themselves at an exclusive preview tour, Ocean Park is proudly home to many amazing wildlife residents. Members of Friends of the Foundation can sign up for the complimentary in-park eco-tour, “Emerald Discovery Tour”, during Conservation Day 2019 to explore this for themselves, including the red-billed blue magpie and the critically endangered blue-crowned laughingthrush. Participants can take part in the joys of observing and recording species – they can upload 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.