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Official Launch of Paddle without Plastic campaign!

This Friday morning on Stanley Beach, an unusual assembly gathered in the dragon boat shed as some dragon boat teams were warming up to hop on their boat for their weekly training. Green Dragons HK has officially launched the Paddle without Plastic campaign and major HK based green organisations (Plastic Free Seas, The Green Earth, V.Cycle, WWF) came along to show their support to the dragon boat community in its journey to become a single use plastic free sport.

The Paddle without Plastic campaign invites dragon boat paddlers, sponsors and festival organisers to reduce plastic waste in training and race events through a series of fun videos featuring Jolie Chan, HK pop singer, Harry Chan, diver and ghost nets hunter and Lappy, the Lap Sap dragon mascot.

12 teams from Lamma, Lantau and Hong Kong Islands already took The Pledge to refuse to bring any single use plastic bottle or food container to training and race events. This is more than 500 paddlers committing to changing their habits and raising awareness about marine pollution.

Monica Kwok, Green Ambassador for the Seagods dragon boat team shared how her team of 67 paddlers has switched to reusable water bottle at every training: “A lot of us had already changed to refillable water bottle and as a team, we always brought our own cutlery and cups during race events. Since we took the pledge, the whole team is really committed and we hardly see a single use plastic bottle on the boat. We also decided to have our team T-shirts made from recycled yarn this year and we will be performing beach cleaning as a team building activity.”

Suzanne Younan, founder of Green Dragons HK, announced that 12 additional teams were already scheduled to take The Pledge before end of March and that 22 other teams were actively discussing the opportunity to take it. “We are confident that we will reach 40 pledged teams this year. This is a great win for our community and for the planet. If you consider that each team trains twice a week with 25 paddlers during 15 weeks of the season, this is 30.000 bottles that will not be added to the 5.2 million single use plastic bottles entering the Hong Kong waste system daily!” said Suzanne.

In addition to bringing competitive dragon boat teams together, Green Dragons HK also supports dragon boat festival organisers in reducing plastic waste during race events. In 2018, Deep Water Bay Regatta hosted by Victoria Recreation Club (VRC) saved 1,646 plastic bottles by having a water station installed for paddlers to refill their reusable bottles. Stanley Dragon Boat Association also worked hard to reduce the plastic waste during Stanley Cup providing water station and water boy’s rather than distributing water bottles to paddlers. This year Green Dragons HK is approaching more festivals to help them continue or start their journey to become plastic free event. Through partnership with The Green Earth and V.Cycle, Green Dragons HK also facilitate the implementation of reliable and simple recycling solutions for race days.

While advocating for recycling, Edwin Lau from The Green Earth, also reminded the assembly of the importance to drastically reduce plastic waste. “A study the Education University of Hong Kong on microplastics in the food chain conducted in Aberdeen Wholesale Fish market revealed that 60 % of flathead grey mullet contained microplastics. We may take in this plastic via eating! We need to stop contaminating our ocean. Recycling cannot be a permanent solution.” said Edwin.

This morning, the air was filled with passion and enthusiasm of dragon boat paddlers overcoming their competitive instinct to be stronger together and lead by example. This is a message of hope and an invitation to all to take their part and make a difference to Hong Kong beaches and marine life. Dragon Boat teams form Hong Kong, please get in touch to take The Pledge!

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