× HKMBA Mountain Biking Advocacy 香港越野單車協進會

Littering on the trails

5 years 5 months ago #3314 by all_tha_rage
Hi everyone! First of all thanks for the effort that so many people put into making mountain biking in Hong Kong possible, and rewarding! I ride with a group of guys who have all ridden in various places around the world, and the trails in Hong Kong are a load of fun!

We do have one thing that immediately stands out...
We cant help but notice that there is a lot of rubbish left on the trails, and lately there has been a noticeable increase in the amount we are seeing at points where various trails meet/branch off in Tai Mo Shan... I dont wish to point fingers, and realise it is something which can never be completely resolved as it isn't just one particular group of people such as riders or hikers, however it is disappointing to ride the trails and to meet other people who are taking a short break from riding, enjoying a snack, to then watch them throw their litter into the bushes. I have seen punctured inner tubes, chocolate wrappers, plastic bottles, cigarette butts, and so on, that have been discarded into the bushes with zero regard for the impact this has on the local wildlife, water ways, and the natural beauty most riders love!

If a person is able to bring something onto the trails, why cant they take it out with them, and then discard it in a recycling, or rubbish bin instead of on the trails??
I for one not only enjoy mountain biking for the challenge, and fitness, but also for the natural, and often beautiful surroundings I find myself riding around in....

Any thoughts on how we can reduce our footprint in the country parks would be great!

Take care on the trails!
The following user(s) said Thank You: brandon, mtsinhk

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5 years 5 months ago #3315 by Pk101
Replied by Pk101 on topic Littering on the trails
Thank you for your post and welcome to the forum!!

The lack of rubbish bins and government staff to clean up after trail users doesnt help matters. I dont think that the MTB trails in Tai Lam country park have desgnated cleaners, if so they are one of the AFCD team doing as they please. No set schedule.

Some areas of the country park you will see designated cleaning contractors, however anything in a quiet corner or unreachable by vehicle will always be messy.

I can think of a few rest points or junctions in Tai Lam where trash is a problem.

Im shocked to hear anybody throwing away an inner tube....they should be shot!!

Especially when you can do so much with them:
www.instructables.com/id/10-of-1000-Uses-for-Old-Bicycle-Tubes/

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5 years 5 months ago #3316 by all_tha_rage
I plan to take a rubbish bag with me next time to do my little bit of tidying up. Its just a shame some people do not consider the impact of their actions

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5 years 5 months ago #3317 by tom
Replied by tom on topic Littering on the trails
It really really sucks and spoils that feeling of escape to a natural, untouched place place, eh? But I suppose many people these days grew up in house where there was someone to pick up after them. In the MTB community I think/hope its only a very few who do this sort of thing...

And its not a problem on the MTB trails. The other hat I wear is that of a hiker and on one walk along the HK trail this winter I saw tissues or plastic bottles were discarded every 2-3m along its path. In a place that was taken hostage by a respiratory disease in 2003 you would think folks would have learned by now not spread nasal discharge or "lung biscuits" in public and dispose of this waste responsibly. It bothered me so much that I stopped noticing the scenery of the park but instead became upset and angry by the constant reminder of the senseless idiots who have no decency to respect the park, the environment and other visitors who may follow their path. It was a long and disappointing hike along one of HK's treasured trails I vowed not to return until the rainy season started so that this waste would be swept out of site, perhaps much further down the hills and into the catchwaters and maybe our drinking supply... yuck.

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5 years 5 months ago - 5 years 5 months ago #3318 by blackcolour
Replied by blackcolour on topic Littering on the trails
Agreed with all the above, if you cannot help clean up the lovely environment you should at least take away all the things your brought with you!

I'm going to say something that might upset people. Have noticed (and suffered) this more frequently than it should - people having a fag. I mean, you're out here in the open, enjoying splendid vistas and clean air, what do you think you are doing by lighting it up? I note that people who smoke in the country parks are usually Chinese male in their 30s-50s who look like construction workers. I believe smoking in the country parks are outlawed, just as any parks in the urban areas. If you do that, you deserve to be tied up on a tree with no water for half a day in mid-August.

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5 years 5 months ago #3319 by YW-Slayer
Replied by YW-Slayer on topic Littering on the trails
There's just no excuse for littering on any trail. If people bring their food or whatever in, they should be able to take it out with them again after it's done if there're no convenient bins around.

I have had discussions with those who say that a slightly greyer area is organic, biodegradable, and "relatively hygienic"(?) waste such as banana skins. However, I'd still encourage people to take it away with them for 2 reasons: Firstly, for aesthetic reasons, secondly, because imbeciles who see organic waste being dropped on the trail might think that it's therefore OK to drop non-organic waste.

Leave only tyre tracks (or footprints)!!

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5 years 4 months ago - 5 years 4 months ago #3320 by psycholist
Replied by psycholist on topic Littering on the trails
all_tha_rage wrote: "to then watch them throw their litter into the bushes. I have seen punctured inner tubes, chocolate wrappers, plastic bottles, cigarette butts, and so on, that have been discarded into the bushes with zero regard for the impact this has on the local wildlife, water ways, and the natural beauty most riders love!"

It's one thing seeing the litter discarded all over the trails (and the rest of HK) and feeling sad/angry/upset about it, but it's another issue completely, when the opportunity presents itself as you describe witnessing, to not be willing to immediately call someone you see littering in front of you on their ****tard-obliviot behaviour, when you have that opportunity presented.

Calling them out on their littering can take many ways from aggressive to calm, verbal to non-verbal, just picking up the litter they have just discarded in front of you, and packing it away for disposal later, with nothing more than a look, (smile or a scowl),can shame someone but at least you should do something.

By saying nothing when you had a chance you remain part of the problem, (apathy and indifference so prevalent in society on a grand scale), rather than part of the solution, (giving a ****...)


pk101 wrote: "the lack of rubbish bins and government staff to clean up after trail users doesn't help matters."

Do you mean the lack of bins on the trail and cleaning teams is to blame?

Or, because of your exceptance/acknowledgement of the amount of litter on the trails, we need cleaning teams assigned to the trails and bins placed on the trails?

From my experience in HK, litter bins placed on trails encourage the ****tard-obliviot behaviour of passersby on the trail filling the bin (open bins) to capacity, and then just throwing litter in the and around the bin area even when the bin is full, with (obviously) no thought to the wind and weather, wild birds, feral dogs and pigs, monkeys etc., distributing the waste all around the area adjacent to the bin site.

Having removed bins from certain trails and put up no littering signs, i saw an improvement immediately in the amount of waste being strewn along the trails and at old bin areas.
Sadly though, over five to eight years later, all over HK, littering has increased...

Only in HK it seems are we provided with more and more bins yet more and more littering is taking place... Bins on trails are not a solution. And the often "smart-guys" generally employed to walk some trails in pairs on a designated weekday to clean the trails. With their interest levels, very low wage, time limitation etc., anything thrown in the bushes along the trail is often ignored or just to much effort to reach, so these teams are not much of a solution either.

It's down to us as users of the trails to keep them clean by not littering and if observing littering taking place doing something about it to show that you do not except this shameful obliviot behaviour. Individual responsibility anyone...?

blackcolour wrote: "I note that people who smoke in the country parks are usually Chinese male in their 30s-50s who look like construction workers."

Did you ask them their profession to ascertain their gainful employment...?
People i have "spoken" with on trails about their cigarette littering habit have each time been gweilo's walking their dogs, and chinese and gweilo downhill bike and outfit-clad riders...

blackcolour wrote: "I believe smoking in the country parks are outlawed, just as any parks in the urban areas."

Interesting(?) perspective and observation, but one i don't hold personally as i am not bothered by the secondhand smoke from someones smoking, as outdoors on a trail, i can simply move upwind or away from them.

What i do have a problem with is the piles of discarded cigarette butts at trailheads etc, and again, if presented with the opportunity of witnessing a cigarette being littered on the ground, wouldn't and haven't hesitated to call the guilty parties attention to this still being littering (smokers the world over seem to think it is not littering...), and not acceptable.

tom wrote: "It was a long and disappointing hike along one of HK's treasured trails I vowed not to return until the rainy season started so that this waste would be swept out of site, perhaps much further down the hills and into the catchwaters and maybe our drinking supply... yuck."

Tom, at least you are honest, and to give you the benefit of the doubt, not as able-bodied to go stooping and reaching down and about for discarded litter around you on the trail, but sadly, that is the reality. Most do nothing about the situation (picking up others litter, or confronting litterers in the act). And yes, the rain and wind etc., come and wash a ton of litter into the water drainage systems, streams, catchments and rivers, and no surprise, the water around HK is chock full of litter as a result of not just direct littering into the sea, but all the run off from drains, streams etc., over time. It's not rocket science, it's all connected.

YW-Slayer wrote: "There's just no excuse for littering on any trail. If people bring their food or whatever in, they should be able to take it out with them again after it's done if there're no convenient bins around.

I have had discussions with those who say that a slightly greyer area is organic, biodegradable, and "relatively hygienic"(?) waste such as banana skins. However, I'd still encourage people to take it away with them for 2 reasons: Firstly, for aesthetic reasons, secondly, because imbeciles who see organic waste being dropped on the trail might think that it's therefore OK to drop non-organic waste.

Leave only tyre tracks (or footprints)!!"

Tru dat... It's that simple! Take (bring it in), take it out with you. All the way out. Not to the trail bins misguidedly provided often in the back of beyond subject to the vagaries of wild animals and over-filling by thoughtless *****!

We are part of the solution or part of the problem, simple really.

Adding to that, you can tell from the number of responses to this topic that it is not a big deal or on many peoples radar though, not an issue most seem to be bothered about or feel they can do much about. We're back to the apathy and indifference of the masses...

Oh,and race organizers and tour group organizers using the trails for events. Leave the trails in a better condition than you found them.

If you cannot guarantee that your participants will/are not littering before/during/after the event, you need to sweep the course during or immediately (within one day) of/after the event, and clear up discarded gel and bar wrappers, bottles, broken or discarded equipment etc.

More participants taking part in more events in the last 10 year has resulted in (no) surprise, surprise, more race related litter on the trails used by organizers. You need to deal with this along with clearing courses of any race related signage/markers. No excuses!

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5 years 4 months ago #3321 by brandon
Replied by brandon on topic Littering on the trails
Well yes, organisers do remind participants to 'Leave no trace' in every event I've been to, and of course it should go without saying - but this is HK, where common-sense behavior has to be spelled out. That, and people are just careless. Gel wrappers fall out of pockets, bottles out of cages, etc. As such, I think any competitive event in the CP should (and some have, as I recall) stipulate immediate disqualification for a participant who intentionally OR unintentionally litters on the trail. End of story.

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5 years 4 months ago #3322 by Pk101
Replied by Pk101 on topic Littering on the trails
Littering in general should not be tolerated, like you, if anybody blatantly threw something away in front of me I would speak up. Thankfully I havent had the opportunity.

Taking care of the trails and the environment should start with the individual. My bag is always full of small plastic bags that Ive recycled from home (such as bread bun bags) which are used for dealing with my rubbish. I empty them at home or at the first opportunity.

I am not suggesting we have cleaning crews sweeping through the CP after users, simply implying that the more rubbished areas stand out from the cleansed areas.

HK is far to used to somebody else picking up after them and is a habit that is unlikely to change in the short term. My worst ever experience was the morning after a fullmoon festival at a Sai Kung BBQ site. The place was worse than a rubbish tip, what the stray dogs hadnt snapped up the cleaning crews were expected to clear immediately. Sadly these events are so common place that the contracted crews are prepared for them and expect them.

HKMBA is in contact with HKCA, a regular organiser of races, and cleaning race sites after races has been discussed. It is HKMBA position that they can be doing a lot more to make the race experience better all round.

Everybody must do their bit !!!!

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5 years 4 months ago - 5 years 4 months ago #3323 by all_tha_rage

psycholist wrote: By saying nothing when you had a chance you remain part of the problem, (apathy and indifference so prevalent in society on a grand scale), rather than part of the solution, (giving a ****...)


I do, and will continue to call people when I see them littering.

The other points you make I largely agree with. I created this topic to try make people more aware of the problem, and not to shy away from taking the opportunity to point out the poor behaviour of littering, its impacts, and to hopefully make a difference. I, like you, encourage people to call someone on this behaviour.

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