Hong Kong, a metropolitan area with a population of around seven million people, within 2,000 square kilometres, is over and above the fourth most crowded place around the globe. Plastic waste is a demanding subject the city is facing. The city produced 3.7 million tonnes of municipal waste in the year 2015. Moreover, twenty years forward, the situation is likely to become burdensome if not considered severe.
The government is initiating varied plans to overcome the critical circumstances. Besides that, the people themselves are keen to begin efforts to resolve the disposal of plastic waste. Previously, 13 landfill sites were covered with the wastes, which were further redeveloped into sports arenas, gardens, golf courses, fairgrounds, and so on. The public perception was also inflated for the upcoming challenge and the manufacturers of plastic bottles and containers were urged to dispose of the waste on their ends. Therefore, there are struggles betwixt and between Hong Kong and its plastic waste.
The Proponent of Sustainability, Annie Leonard, righteously quoted: “There is no such thing as ‘away’. When we throw anything away it must go somewhere.” The notion of recycling waste is the key to prevent pollution by waste that is discharged in varied forms. However, the people in the city are going forward in converting plastic waste into public beaches to combat pollution.
Plastic Waste- A Critical Challenge
located in Sha, Hong Kong, the Shing Mun River has faced plastic waste pollution for years. Landfills are dug upon for recycling domestic waste. Otherwise, the waste is generally dumped in rivers, which further leads to water pollution that causes contagious diseases like hepatitis. In 2018, 40,000 pieces ended up in the river per day, including household plastic bottles, food packets, etc.
Moreover, the plants and animals are also affected severely, so the issue needed a demanding rethinking. Therefore, the HIR Studio initiated recycling the plastic bottles and refurbished them into unique benches along the river shore. They were placed in the Sha Tin District’s Town Hall for wayfarers. The major change is never solitary; it accompanies a collaborative approach. So, the local people also cooperated along with public organizations in processing the remedy towards the challenge.
Recycling and converting plastics into public benches was complicated on a large scale, yet the merging of organizations and the optimism of people made it workable. Initially, the two months were spent accumulating domestic plastics. Subsequently, the waste like High-density polyethylene or polyethylene high-density bottles, domestic products, detergent bottles, and so forth were separated into varied classifications.
The cleansing and processing are finished and transported to factories where the casting is finished, producing benches with divergent forms. The frames are generally identical; nevertheless, the curvaceous forms share the relatable element with the river flowing alongside. The varied shades and appearance of benches play distinct roles on the public beaches; its intrinsic yet usual colour of recycled plastic is enhancing the innovativeness of the spaces proximate to the public beaches.
The use of plastic waste by a productive means has affected the opinions and ideologies of people in the city. Moreover, they have initiated pitching their minds to resolve the issue further with awareness and active participation. Besides that, dumping domestic waste into rivers or grounds is not the only way out; recycling plastic waste is the new normal for the people of Hong Kong. Thus, they are using the public furniture smoothly and will minimize the water pollution to some extent. Generally, public furniture is composed of materials like wood, concrete, bricks, and so forth.
On the other hand, the utilization of recycled plastic in public benches comes with the advantage of recycling it again after years in different forms as well. The entire idea of the HIR Studio was not limited to public furniture. But, the expansion of the propaganda of recycling plastic waste will invoke people with the vision to move forward with the limitless possibility of recycling plastic waste.
As equitably mentioned by Fred Rogers (The Television Personality): “Often when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else.” Hong Kong is actively countering the issue of plastic waste with the public shores. Since the situation was worse, that had led to a remedial approach of experimenting with new intentions of recycling and converting plastic waste into public seating.
Mathew Gandy stated: “Recycling is more than just a response to the environmental crisis and has assumed a symbolic role in beginning to change the nature of western societies and the culture of consumerism. Indeed many environmentalists assume that there will be an inevitable shift from our “throwaway” society to a post-industrial “recycling” society of the future.”
The legacy of recycling demands to be summoned upon, not merely in Hong Kong but around the globe, for the welfare of future generations to come. The organizations and the local people have to shake their hands to take forward the critical issues of waste and pollution the cities are facing and not incautiously hold for adverse situations.