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Yacht Club to Lead Environmental Initiative

Published on May 4th, 2016

Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club (RHKYC) is one of the oldest sports clubs in Hong Kong, with a history which stretches back over nearly 170 years. As host to prominent events, including the 2015 Etchells World Championship, now RHKYC seeks to be an environmental leader too.

RHKYC will no longer sell beverages in single-use plastic bottles nor provide members with plastic straws and bags. This initiative will take effect from June 8 to coincide with the internationally celebrated World Oceans Day, an annual United Nations recognised day of celebration and action for the ocean.

“Reducing the amount of waste being dumped into our oceans is one of the challenges of our time,” noted Rear Commodore Anthony Day. “Here in Hong Kong, where recycling is effectively non-existent, it’s impossible to sail far without being struck by the amount of plastic that finds its way into our waters and onto our beaches”

As one of the world’s larger and most active yacht clubs, Day is pleased to see the club showing innovation and leadership toward addressing the problem. “I am proud of our cadets for showing the way through their successful initiatives promoting the use of reusable water bottles over the past three editions of Hong Kong Race Week and grateful both to our management and to our membership for now taking up the ‘plastic free’ challenge with effect from World Oceans Day.”

Ocean Recovery Alliance co-founder Doug Woodring explained how only a small percentage of plastic actually ever gets recycled, even though it is ‘recyclable’, because systems are not sufficient enough to handle all of the plastic material that is created, used and discarded, all over the world.

“As a result, this permanent material finds its way to our waters, and causes all types of impacts with the environment, ecosystem, and our own health,” remarked Woodring. “The ocean does not ‘absorb’ this material when plastic gets into the water, so it is imperative that we as a community help to keep the plastic out of our waste stream in the first place as much as possible. This move also sends a great learning message to our next generation of ocean appreciators.”

President of the International Council of Yacht Clubs John McNeill also congratulated the Club; “For the ICOYC, it is rewarding to see our Member Clubs taking leading action toward assuring the health of the very waters we are blessed with. Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, as a founding member, leads again with this positive action toward securing the future, and showing the way for others in all corners of the world.”

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