Volunteers Join Beach Cleanup in Hong Kong to Help Turtles

Category: Science/Environment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. ordinance / ˈɔr·dən·əns / (n) – a law or a policy

    According to city ordinance, no tourists are allowed in this area.

  2. sight / saɪt / (v) – to see or to observe

    Environmentalists are worried because they have not sighted any turtles on the beach for years.

  3. tangle / ˈtæŋ·ɡəl / (v) – to get caught or to be trapped in something (e.g. net)

    Garbage sometimes gets tangled in fishing nets.

  4. ingest / ɪnˈdʒest / (v) – to take something as food into the body

    An animal can die if it ingests items like plastic or metal.

  5. collision / kəˈlɪʒ(ə)n / (n) – a forceful contact between two things

    The collision of the two ships caused a massive oil spill that polluted the ocean.


Read the text below.

Thousands of volunteers participated in a beach cleanup near Hong Kong’s Turtle Cove last May.

Environmentalist Robert Lockyer organized the cleanup of Shek Pai Wan, a beach near Turtle Cove, to help endangered green sea turtles that lay their eggs in the area. Over 2,000 volunteers participated in the cleanup. They were able to gather a lot of plastic waste like drinking straws, spoons and forks, toothbrushes, and bags, which are believed to have come from southern China and other parts of Hong Kong.

Turtle Cove is one of Hong Kong’s regular nesting grounds for green sea turtles. In 1999, the government issued an ordinance that imposed restricted access on beaches like Turtle Cove to make sure that turtles could safely nest. But despite the ordinance, no green sea turtles have been sighted on Turtle Cove since 2012.

One of the volunteers said that the turtles do not make it to their nesting ground alive. They either get tangled in fishing nets or die from ingesting plastic that they mistake for food. The situation got worse for the turtles when a collision between two ships near the Chinese mainland spilled palm oil that reached Hong Kong’s beaches in 2017.

In February, Lockyer co-organized another cleanup to address dirty beaches and marine pollution. The cleanup was done on Tai Wan To beach as part of the preparation for the typhoon season. More than 500 volunteers turned up and collected 1,400 kilograms of waste brought about by last year’s Typhoon Hato.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• In your opinion, how else can green sea turtles be protected?
• Who has the greatest responsibility to protect marine life (e.g. the government, environmental organizations)? Why?

Discussion B

• How can more people be encouraged to join environmental cleanups?
• Aside from cleanups, what other initiatives can help reduce marine pollution? Explain.