Ola! Mexicans unite to save Hong Kong and global seas
On Saturday, 26 May 2018, a diverse group of people participated in the “Conservation Day @ The Beach” at Pui O, Lantau island, Hong Kong. This non-profit event increased the awareness of the importance of the conservation of our seas, and of the role we all can play in preventing pollution, promoting sustainable fisheries, and protecting biodiversity. 
 
The event was hosted by Treasure Island, a leading outdoor education and recreation centre, in coordination with the Consulate General of Mexico in Hong Kong and the local Mexican Chamber of Commerce. The event was supported by WWF Hong Kong and award-winning Moonzen Brewery. 
“Conservation Day @ The Beach is a very significant event for the Consulate General of Mexico. The protection of marine ecosystems requires effective global action, and this can only be achieved through closer dialogue and cooperation between governments, businesses, NGOs and individuals” says Damián Martínez Tagüeña, Consul General of México in Hong Kong. 

Participants helped painted a large mural facing the beach designed by Mexican artist Jaime Ruiz Martínez with Hong Kong artist Marc Allante leading the group. The image highlights the efforts to save two critically endangered marine species that are endemic to Mexico: the vaquita marina porpoise and the totoaba fish. Totoaba is illegally fished in Mexico because of the demand for its maw in the south China region. The vaquita entangle in illegal gillnets and ghost nets. 

The mural designed by Mexican artist Jaime Ruiz Martínez.

Adults and children also took part in a beach clean-up and other activities, as well as on presentations on local and global issues related to the marine environment. The documentary “A Plastic Ocean”, from director Craig Leeson, was screened, with thanks to WWF Hong Kong.

“The marine litter problem is a serious threat to the global oceans. Through this meaningful event, we do not only clean up the trash on beach here, but hope to change behaviour of the participants to reduce single-use plastics in their daily life, and spread the message to the wider community” says Patrick Yeung, Project Manager, Oceans Conservation, WWF-Hong Kong.

In parallel to Saturday’s event, members of the South Lantau Paddle Club removed ghost nets in the nearby shore. Hundreds of kilometres of fishing nets are abandoned by humans in the ocean every year, killing animals for decades before they disintegrate.