Microplastics Damages HK Seas | The Beat Asia
Hong Kong/ Terra/ Nature

Microplastics Threaten Hong Kong Marine Ecosystem

Microplastics in HK Seas Header Image Photo by Website/Unsplash

Local news outlet RTHK reported on Jan. 3 that up to 26 billion microplastics are expunged into the ocean through sewage treatment facilities each day, according to a study by the City University.

Microplastics are defined as tiny plastic particles less than five millimetres in diameter. Primary microplastics are designed for commercial use, found in cosmetics, fishing nets, and textiles. Secondary microplastics result from the breakdown of larger plastics, such as plastic bottles.

Since plastics take hundreds to thousands of years to decompose, microplastics have been found in marine organisms, from plankton to whales, as well as in commercial seafood. Due to their small size, they often return to drinking water, as standard water treatment facilities cannot remove all traces of microplastics.

The study, conducted last year, found that large quantities of microplastics are still being discharged into the ocean despite water treatments. Storm drains are also responsible for the transportation of microplastics into the oceans.

Kenneth Leung, the Directors of the State Key Laboratory of Marine Pollution at City University, notes that while the government should implement treatment facilities to filter drain water of microplastics, the responsibility should also be on the public to improve our waters.

The most common form of microplastics, according to Leung, are microfibers associated with laundry discharge.

Leung advises members of the public to invest in a filter for the washing machine discharge pipe, which would remove most microplastics before the water is discharged into the system.

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