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HKFP Lens: ‘Hong Kong Soup’ – Mandy Barker’s artistic shots of the city’s beach waste epidemic

Known for her work with marine debris, British photographic artist Mandy Barker first visited Hong Kong in 2012, taking layered shots of rubbish at various beaches in the city.

Barker learnt about Hong Kong’s plastic waste epidemic during a scientific research expedition across the Pacific Ocean.

She named her photography project “Hong Kong Soup: 1826,” in reference to the metric tonnes of plastic dumped into the city’s landfills every day.

“One of the images entitled Polystyrene (Styrofoam) represents the fact that 52 tonnes of Styrofoam [as of 2012] also goes into landfill every day,” Barker told HKFP. “This is something I still find difficult to comprehend.”
“Because there was so much choice [of waste on the beach], I had to think of the items that would have most impact.”

In March 2015, she visited Lap Sap Wan – rubbish bay – near Shek O on Hong Kong Island, where journalists captured images of the waste before it was cleared by volunteers.

“Volunteers collected 2,064 bottles in just 30 minutes… [equivalent to] 46 refuse collection vehicles with a 4 tonne capacity,” said Barker.

She was saddened, however, by more recent images of Lap Sap Wan, appearing to show the same amount of rubbish was still there.

“The government needs to face up to the serious marine litter problem in various coastal areas in Hong Kong,” said Barker.

“Clearly my work is not done in Hong Kong.”

More details on “Hong Kong Soup: 1826” are available on Barker’s website.

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HKFP Lens: 'Hong Kong Soup' - Mandy Barker's artistic shots of the city's beach waste epidemic