Newsletter April 2016
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If sea turtles could talk ... what would they say?

Sea turtles have swum on our shared planet for over 100 million years.  Of the seven species of sea turtles inhabiting our oceans, six are now classified as threatened or endangered as a direct result of human actions and lifestyles.  According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, Loggerheads, Leatherbacks and Olive Ridleys are listed as Vulnerable (high risk of extinction in the wild),  Greens are Endangered (very high risk of extinction in the wild), Hawksbills and Kemp's Ridleys are Critically Endangered (extremely high risk of extinction in the wild) and Flatbacks are listed as Data Deficient (cannot be evaluated because of insufficient information).

Sea turtles are killed for their shells, skin, meat and eggs. They face habitat destruction from tourism development, sand dune degradation and plastic pollution on the beaches they nest on to lay their eggs. They encounter an ever increasing amount of plastic in the sea that is mistaken as food, entangles their bodies or traps them completely. Climate change is also having an impact on turtle nesting sites; as the sand temperature is altered, the sex of the hatchlings is affected.

May 23rd is World Turtle Day.  We need to do more to protect our sea turtles.  Most people are unaware that the sandy beach of Sham Wan, Lamma Island in Hong Kong is one of the last remaining nesting sites of Green sea turtles in Southern China and is protected with restricted entry from 1st June - 31st October. 

Protecting our oceans and our sea turtles is more important now than ever before.  With reclamation, pollution, habitat loss, deep sea trawling and 'ghost' fishing nets all impacting these species, the time to raise our voices for the turtles is now.  We need to r
educe single use plastic, clean our beaches, push governments for more marine protected areas, eat less seafood and travel mindfully in turtle nesting areas.
Plastic Free Seas in action:

To see all events for April click here.

On land
PFS travelled to China for the International School of Dongguan's Earth Day Conference. The Eco Ed China School conference topics included climate change, composting, alternative energy and plastic pollution with each school committing to student lead action plans.
On the beach
In spite of the rain and low cloud that covered HK for most of this month, PFS led 5 beach clean-ups, from kindergarten to corporate groups.  It is never too early to start learning about and caring for our environment and the youngsters, from 3 to 5 years old did a great job!
Out at sea
The Sea Classroom is temporarily out of action for engine work, but PFS is committed to bringing the sea to the classroom. Starting with DBIS, PFS has been developing a hands-on program to introduce students to plankton and their very important role in the ecosystem.
Make a difference and Support PFS: Single-use plastic drink bottles are one of the most commonly found items on our beaches and in our country parks.

While their usefulness can be measured in minutes,
hours, or maybe even days, their impact on the earth is counted in years. Hundreds of years. 

The good news is there is a fairly easy fix to this problem.... reusable bottles! This is something that everyone can and should do! 
Buy Now
Little Wins Campaign: What can one person do to make a difference? This is the most often asked question to PFS. Our response is usually - a lot! When you see something that annoys you - do something about it. Find out which person or company can make a positive change to your issue and take action!

PFS' Julia Lueng had a little win recently. After a morning outing on the Sea Classroom, Julia stopped into a Cha Chaan Teng for a bite to eat. Her standard order, no matter where she eats, is always "No straw, please" at the end. This time, however, she simply forgot to say it.  
Read more ...

April Eco-tip:  Are you an ocean-friendly pet owner?  Here are a few things to consider if you own a dog, cat or even a goldfish:  

  • Read pet food labels and consider seafood sustainability when choosing a diet for your pet.
  • Always pick up after your pet at the beach, as the bacteria from pet waste can be detrimental to the ecosystem.
  • Never flush cat litter, which can contain pathogens harmful to marine life.
  • Avoid stocking your aquarium with wild-caught saltwater fish.
  • Never release any aquarium fish or turtles into the ocean or other bodies of water, a practice that can introduce non-native species harmful to the existing ecosystem.
  • Avoid plastic pet toys.  Check out EarthDoggy for some eco-friendly options.

Upcoming Events:  

Beach Clean-up - May 21st, Discovery Bay (Nim Shue Wan) 2-4pm
Discovery Bay Recycling Day - May 21st, 11am-5pm, DB Piazza
Coastal Watch Ocean Seminar - May 21st, 2-5pm
Hong Kong Youth Arts Foundation Exhibition & Workshops - Throughout April & May

Climate Change Youth Photo Competition (7-18 years old)
Making Meaning of Ocean Pollution (Middle and high school students)

In the News:

Plastic Free Seas is grateful for the generosity and support from individuals, companies, schools and foundations to fund our education programs.  If you want to contribute, your donation large or small will help continue to run the PFS land, beach and sea activities.
Copyright © 2016 Plastic Free Seas, All rights reserved.


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Plastic Free Seas · PO Box 290 · Tung Chung · Lantau Island · Hong Kong

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