Blog Tag: Pollution


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?

CAN Mask Campaign

Posted by Peter MUIR

CAN mask campaign

Hong Kong’s Clean Air Network is looking for volunteers to help take part in their face mask viral campaign! All you need to do is wear our face mask and post it in all of your social networks, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, leaving a few words of your thoughts on Hong Kong’s ever-growing air pollution problem.
Interested? Send the organisation a message with your name and address to and they will send you a face mask (name and address will be held strictly confidential); your participation is crucial to their success!

Waste to Art – an invite

Posted by Peter MUIR

Lantau artist and activist Liina Klauss is holding a waste-to-art installation 31.10 – 01.11. at Shui Hau beach on Lantau Island.  The amount of trash washed ashore this year is unprecedented and a request is made to for nature and art lovers alike to get involved in cleaning up the beach and watching art in progress.  In Liina’s words “let’s get as many hands as possible to make this installation a huge one to show the world this ugly truth!”

March Against the Incinerator

Posted by Peter MUIR

A number of NGOs and schools are collaborating in organising this Saturday’s ‘March Against the Incinerator’.   On 3rd October,  LegCo will vote whether to use up $200 billion of HK taxpayers money to build one of the biggest incinerators in the world – not far away from DB in the pristine environs of Shek Kwu Chau.  This march is being organisied to help change the minds of LegCo.

For more details about the planned incinerator – click here.

The march will take place on 27 Sept to March from Victoria Park to Legislative Council Building at Tamar (Admiralty).   For more details, check out the orgnisers Facebook page.

If a City can do it, can DC?

Posted by Peter MUIR

This news from The Story of Stuff about the plastic bottle ban in the city of San Francisco is a bit outdated.  Regardless, it highlights how advocacy can lead to change.  It also makes me think – if the city of that size can do, why can’t Discovery College? Or all ESF schools?

SF bottled water victory

The Issue: Bottled water is one of the biggest, least necessary, wastestreams that we currently create. San Francisco debated historic legislation that would ban the sale of bottled water on city property, and invest in public water resources.

Their Response: Hundreds of our Story Community members wrote in to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, voicing support for the water bottle ban, and helping to pass the legislation.

The Story: With our friends at Corporate Accountability International leading the way in pushing the issue, San Francisco became the biggest and most visible city to debate regulations on the sale of bottled water. The historic legislation would ban the sale of bottled water on city property, as well as make important investments in public water resources to ensure access to fresh, clean water. Bottled water companies knew the importance of the move: San Francisco was one of the first cities to regulate plastic bags, and passage of this bill could establish it as model legislation for other communities to follow. Hundreds of members of our Story Community wrote in to support the legislation, which passed in a tough vote to kick off the next fight over unnecessary waste.

San Francisco Examiner: SF becomes first major city to ban sale of plastic water bottles, March 4th 2014

Heroic Swim Around Lantau Island for Plastic Free Seas

Posted by Peter MUIR

Bruce Pye is embarking on a monumental task. This experienced marathon and triathlon sportsman has pledged to swim around the entire Lantau Island – a staggering 75km – in order to raise awareness of the environmental impact of plastic.

A gruelling swim over five consecutive days will see Bruce start his journey on Tai Pak beach in Discovery Bay on 29 October 2014 at 7.45am. He will cover approximately 15km each day. Following the completion of each leg, Bruce will participate in a beach cleanup alongside local schools, clubs, corporates and interested members of the public. The goals of this adventure are to: raise awareness of the issue of plastics in the South China Sea, undertake research looking at the plastic load in the South China Sea, and raise money for Plastic Free Sea’s Education and Research Sea Classroom which will be launched later this year.

The targeted beaches are: Luk Keng Bay (near Sunny Bay MTR), Tung Chung Bay, Fan Lau (south-western tip of Lantau Island) and Shui Hau Wan (near Tong Fuk). Bruce will repeat the process of swimming and doing beach cleanups until 2 November 2014, when a celebratory lunch will be held to present the ceremonial cheque for the funds raised so far from the event. All the proceeds will go to Plastic Free Seas, a charity dedicated to educating children on plastic marine pollution. Fundraising will continue until the end of November.

PFS Bruce swimWhen asked for his reaction to the highly positive feedback he has received from the public, an excited Bruce replied, “Plastic Free Seas is a wonderful organisation, teaching our children about an issue that has always been very close to my heart. I’ve always wanted to give back and this event is exactly that. We need to make sure that the world we leave behind for our children is in a better state than when we entered it.”

People who would like to sponsor Bruce on his amazing and challenging journey can visit to make a donation which will support Plastic Free Seaseducation programmes, specifically their education and research vessel.

Businesses interested in making a donation or sponsoring the event should contact for more information

About Bruce Pye

Bruce Pye, a long-term resident of Hong Kong, is currently a Captain with Cathay Pacific and is the Managing Director at Sports World, a store selling high-end sports apparel, gear and products to people with an active lifestyle. He is also a frequent competitor in marathons, triathlons and ironman races. A keen athlete, he likes to put his athletic skills to useful causes, the most recent being the Marathon Des Sables, a 251km footrace in the sweltering Saharan desert heat. It was an easy decision for him to choose to support Plastic Free Seas in his newest adventure.

About Plastic Free Seas

plasticfreeseaslogoPlastic Free Seas was registered as a charitable non-profit organisation in Hong Kong in 2013, and is dedicated to advocating change in the way people view and use plastics in society today, through education and action campaigns.

Solution-based education has been Plastic Free Seas’ focus, and in the past year they have reached more than 5000 kindergarten to university students in over 40 schools with talks and programmes. The aim is that by understanding the issues related to plastic waste and pollution, people will choose to use less plastic and therefore less plastic will end up in the ocean, polluting the waters, affecting the fish and entering the food chain.

Plastic Free Seas also works with companies, community groups and the HKSAR Government on action campaigns and awareness events.

The proceeds from this fundraiser will enable the Plastic Free Seas Education and Research Sea Classroom to be operational in 2014.  A converted ex-fishing trawler will take secondary school students out onto the water to experience and participate in science-based learning programmes at sea.  This environmental Sea Classroom is the first of its kind in Hong Kong.

MTR run for low carbon living

Posted by Peter MUIR

CAN logoA local youth running athlete group organized a 17km charity run along the MTR Island Line, in order to promote a life with low carbon footprint. Participants started running from Heung Fa Chuen Station until Sheung Wan Station. Money raised from the event will be donated to the Clean Air Network in support of their work.  Another example of a CAS / Community Engagement project.

A petition for bees and more

Posted by Peter MUIR

New research indicates that neurotoxic pesticides known as “neonics” are not only wiping out the world’s bees, but also killing off butterflies, fish, and birds, threatening to wipe out “the heart of a functioning ecosystem”. The study says neonics can be 5,000 to 10,000 times more toxic to bees than DDT, and according to some scientists, it is a threat to the productivity of our natural and farmed environment.

dead-beeBayer, one of the largest producers of neonics, has been under enormous pressure to reign in the killer pesticide. Instead, Bayer has launched a lawsuit at the EU in an attempt to overturn neonic regulations.

The Story of Stuff organization has organized a petition to tell Bayer to stop making the neonics causing mass destruction of our ecosystem and wiping out the food chain.  You can click here to sign the petition – but I would suggest being informed about the issue before doing so.  Also consider – is signing a petition enough to be classified as ‘taking action’? And what role does advocacy take to bring about social change?

Hong Kong’s First Baby Stroller Race for Clean Air

Posted by Peter MUIR

stroller-race-posterDid you know there is a huge connection between the Baby Stroller and the Air pollution?

To raise awareness of health impact of air pollution on baby’s health and the unfriendly environment of walking / handling stroller on streets of Hong Kong.  Each team consists of 2 participants will race to see who can finish the obstacle race first.


Date: 5th July, 2014 (Saturday)
Venue: Chater Garden, Central
Time: 10:00 – 11:30 a.m.
Eligibility: Age 18 or above (2 participants per team)
Admission fee: Free

Click here for more details.

The Airmazing Race 4 returns!

Posted by Peter MUIR

Airmazing race2014For the 4th consecutive year CAN is organizing the annual youth educational scavenger hunt “The Airmazing Race”.

Teams of two will compete to finish as many challenges as possible in over 30 different checkpoints in Central. We aim to explore the Walkability of the CBD of Hong Kong in this alternative urban experience with hundreds of participants.

Certainly you know Central inside out? Think again!

Time:1pm – 5pm, 5th July, 2014
Location:Chater Garden
Eligibility:Ages 13 – 18
Fee:Free of Charge
Application Deadline: 13th June, 2014
(for both Racer and Volunteer)
Prizes : All applicants will receive a $100 PizzaExpress Food Voucher.
The winning team will be awarded a $3,600 InterContinental Hong Kong Buffet Voucher.

Click here for more details on the event.