Hong Kong Cleanup seeks to engage 5% of Hongkongers in new initiative

Fifteen years ago, Hong Kong Cleanup initiated what would become the world’s largest volunteer effort - a nine-week challenge to make Hong Kong a cleaner, greener place through a collective effort to pick up millions of kilograms of trash every fall.

In celebration of this year’s milestone anniversary event, co-founders Lisa Christensen and Nissa Marion are encouraging every Hong Konger to sign up a team to clean up a beach, country trail or urban park of their choice, starting on Saturday, 19 September.

According to leading global social scientists, by mobilising 5% of Hong Kong’s population in actively reducing the amount of trash they generate and taking a role in cleaning up the city, we would create a paradigm shift and form a social movement with long-lasting behavioral change, getting us closer to a cleaner, greener city.

This is why the team at Hong Kong Cleanup is focusing its efforts on increasing local engagement as much as possible this Fall.

“We are currently generating over six million tonnes of trash per year, which is equivalent to over 16,000 tonnes every day,” said Lisa Christensen, founder and CEO of the Hong Kong Cleanup.

“Over the last 15 years, Hong Kong Cleanup has seen engagement grow significantly, and with the addition of the 5% Participation Challenge this year, we aim to count over 360,000 participants during the nine-week initiative.”

“Littering is a major epidemic in Hong Kong, and the only way we can turn our trash problem around is through awareness and education,” said Nissa Marion, co-founder and project director at Hong Kong Cleanup.

“It’s not just the overflowing landfills that are becoming a problem; the issue has now flooded into our oceans. We are contributing to the deterioration of one of our biggest natural resources by discarding everyday items such as plastic bottles and plastic bags, cigarettes, and food wrappers, which are some the most commonly found trash items in the sea.”

Organised by Ecozine and charity partner, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), The Hong Kong Cleanup is an important initiative for action, awareness and empowerment. During the 2014 Hong Kong Cleanup alone, over 51,000 volunteers collected 3,894,000kg of trash over 1,847km of shorelines, country park trails and city streets.

To help prompt social change and proactive environmental behaviour, Ogilvy & Mather have partnered with Hong Kong Clean Up to create an impactive city-wide campaign.

“We wanted to remind people in Hong Kong that we’re all in this together – and that collectively, individual actions can make a difference. We need a powerful visual analogy to convey our message, and for this, we will take a leaf out of nature’s book. Individually, ants are amazing creatures, but when thousands of them work together as one, it’s truly astounding what they can achieve.

A series of print executions will show what at first glance appears to be ants, carrying individual items of litter - on a beach, a hiking trail, and across an urban concrete path.

"When our audience looks closely, they will see that the ants are actually hundreds of Hong Kong people working together to get rid of the trash. These will stop people in their tracks and make them think positively about what we can all achieve if we get involved with HK Cleanup," said Greg Carton, head of marketing and communications, Ogilvy & Mather, Asia Pacific.