Blog Tag: Pollution

DB Green 10 year anniversary beach cleanup

Posted by Peter MUIR

Banning plastic microbeads

Posted by Peter MUIR


Plastic Free Seas has found some success in their advocacy campaign to ban microbeads in Hong Kong. Many leading brands of personal care products use microbeads, tiny particles of plastic, as an exfoliating and cleansing ingredient. These products are designed to be washed down the drain where the microbeads can pass through wastewater and sewage filtration systems, and are ultimately released out to sea. Microbeads act as sponges, absorbing and accumulating persistent organic pollutants (flame retardants, dioxins and pesticides), which are present in lakes and oceans. In addition, microbeads never fully degrade.

Scientific studies have shown that microbeads can be ingested by sea animals such as plankton, clams and shrimp. As these organisms are at the bottom of the marine food chain, it is likely that the fish and seafood we are eating may have ingested these potentially toxic microbeads.

The number of microbeads per product varies widely. One commonly used scrub product sold in Hong Kong states on the packaging that it contains 1,000,000 black and white ‘scrubs’ in the 100ml tube. Another brand claims it contains 2,000 beads per use.

Sa Sa, a leading cosmetics retailing group in Asia with over 280 retail stores, is the first Hong Kong retail group to commit to a phaseout timeline for microbeads. Their private label products will be free of microbeads by December 2018 and their non private labels will be encouraged to meet this deadline too.

Why not get involved in this campaign as a part of your CE efforts? Aside from evaluating (and eliminating) your own use of products that contain microbeads, get involved in creating awareness about this campaign. Sign their petition, then get in touch with Plastic Free Seas and see how you can further support them.

DB Beach Clean Ups

Posted by Peter MUIR

Beach-Cleanups-2016DB Green and Plastic Free Seas have set beach cleanup dates are set for the rest of 2016.  This presents a good way of getting involved in Community Engagement  – however as different year levels have different CE expectations, please check with your learning advisor.  Regardless of whether or not you include it in your CE portfolio, get involved!

At each beach cleanup there are experienced leaders to enhance your beach cleanup. Learn more about the local plastic pollution issue as well as understanding the global picture!

Gloves, bags and water refills will be provided.

Please wear closed toe shoes (no flip-flops!), sun protection, bug spray and bring a full reusable water bottle!

Invite your friends and family to join!


2016 Ocean Awareness Student Contest

Posted by Peter MUIR


DC secondary students are invited to join the 2016 ocean awareness student contest.  The theme for this contest is ‘Making Meaning out of Ocean Pollution’, and it challenges you to research, explore, interpret, and say something meaningful about the connections between human activities and the health of our oceans.

You are to focus on ONE type of ocean pollution and “make meaning” of it through art, poetry, prose or film. You are encouraged to connect it with their own life, their own local community, or something else that is personally meaningful to them, but what’s most important is to pick a topic that inspires and motivates.

Click on the contest website for more details.

Advocating McDonalds to be environmentally freindly

Posted by Peter MUIR

Get involved in this campaign to stop McDonalds providing needless plastic bags for beverages. Be an advocate for change!


Ideas for action to clean our oceans

Posted by Peter MUIR


When Tracey Read from Plastic Free Seas spoke to Year 7 students last week, she spoke about a recent report that stated that if we keep producing plastic at predicted rates, and continue disposing of it incorrectly, plastics in the ocean will outweigh fish in 2050! This is an alarming statistic, but one does not have to look far to see this. It is certainly an issue we need to do something about, some ideas for taking action include:
Indirect action – raise funds for a very innovative and exciting method for reducing plastic in our oceans. Check out the robotic vacuum ship and also how organizations such as Avaaz are raising funds to clean up our seas using this device
Advocacy – develop a campaign to persuade DB businesses to avoid using one-use products such as straws and plastic cutlery
Research – collect data on plastic products that wash up on DB beaches
Direct action – avoid unnecessary packaging and plastic when you shop; get involved in beach clean ups; improve your waste management at home

An example of advocacy

Posted by Peter MUIR

Coca-Cola Australia is currently lobbying the New South Wales government to not introduce a law that would directly provide money for plastic bottles. This is something that research has shown would have a direct effect on reducing plastic waste and increase recycling.

This video from Greenpeace Australia  is an example of advocacy – trying to persuade others to change their attitudes and behaviours for the betterment of our community.

What action would you be interested in advocating?  What change would you like to see?

A straw-free DB?

Posted by Peter MUIR


US-based NGO Ecocycle has calculated that 500 million straws are used in the US every day. These calculations were based on estimates provided by straw manufacturers. This figure does not include all of the straws attached to juice and milk cartons which has led to some thinking that 500 million is too low.

What would 500 million straws look like? 500 million straws could fill over 127 buses each day, or more than 46,400 buses every year of non-biodegradable plastic. I wonder how many straws are used in Hong Kong per year? Or how many are used here in DC?

An idea for a CAS or CE project would be to investigate the use of straws in DB, then advocate restaurants and citizens to change their practices in their use of straws. Perhaps your long term goal would be a commitment for DB to become a straw-free community! Check out these ideas on creating a straw free project on the Eco Cycle website.

WWF Coastal Watch

Posted by Peter MUIR

Join WWF’s Coastal Watch today!


The plastic pellet spill disaster of August 2012 marked a watershed moment for Hong Kong’s marine environment. While the pellet spill crisis has abated, the physical effects of marine debris are a constant presence on Hong Kong’s beaches and coastlines. The spirit behind WWF-Hong Kong’s Coastal Watch project is to bring forward this momentum to cherish our oceans and keep them clean. Coastal Watch will aim to use scientifically-sound methodologies to study, protect and provide year-round monitoring for all of Hong Kong’s ecologically valuable coastal habitats.

If you are aged 14 or above, physically fit, able to work outdoors and keen on marine conservation, then now is your chance to make a contribution! WWF are recruiting volunteer teams from businesses, social enterprises, schools, government departments and communities across Hong Kong to join Coastal Watch, their unique marine conservation project. Teams will conduct surveys and clean-ups in coastal areas of ecological importance. The application period runs from today to 7 June 2015. Don’t hesitate – team up with your friends and protect our threatened coastlines together. Group size: 20 to 30 people for coastal teams, 10 to 15 people for underwater teams.


Posted by Peter MUIR

microbeadsA recent post on this blog highlighted the new video about the story of microdbeads. Microbeads are very small pieces of plastic found in many regularly used household products such as toothpaste and facial creams.  These tiny balls of plastic do biodegraded, and as such remain in our natural ecosystems – mainly in our waterways as that is where they end up after being washed down our sinks.  Microbeads are found in increasing numbers in seas and marine organisms – and yes, if they end up in fish, and you eat fish, they can end up inside you!

So, every time you brush your teeth or wash your face, you are more than likely polluting our environment!

Some European-based NGOs have developed an App that allows consumers to scan personal care products with their smartphone to check for the presence of plastic microbeads.  Not only can this App help us be more ethical consumers, it also provides us with an example of the use of technology in Community Engagement.  What App could you design to help make the changes we need in our communities?