Listen up, beach-goers who delight in swimming amongst plastic bags, deflated balloons, and lonely flip flops! We found the perfect place for you: the shores of Hong Kong, where unsightly piles of debris have recently washed up and taken up residence.

Plastic pollution is not a new problem for Hong Kong’s waterfront. But during the past two weeks, Quartz reports, the garbage influx has reached unprecedented levels.


Facebook/Ocean Recovery Alliance

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

No one knows precisely where the trash is coming from, but we’re guessing it has something to do with humans — you know, those creatures that like to buy food in individually wrapped plastic packages and, incidentally, have thrown 10 to 30 billion pounds of plastic debris into the ocean. Right now, it looks like Hong Kong’s shores are bearing the brunt of it.

Just a few years ago, Hong Kong set up a fake, blue-sky backdrop in front of its smoggy city skyline for tourist-photo purposes. If only we had a beautiful backdrop to remember the island’s clean beaches by …


Ah, there we go. That’s better.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Reader support helps sustain our work. Donate today to keep our climate news free.