Mysterious Solar Panels Found Drifting In The Sea Near Hong Kong Airport
Instead of catching a glimpse of marine life, paddlers in Hong Kong encounter an unusual sight – an abandoned group of unidentified solar panels floating in the ocean.
A spokesman for the city’s Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation said the large solar panel structures, which have baffled officials and visitors alike, were spotted in Sha Chau and Lung Qu Chau marine parks in mid-March.
The island is a protected natural area north of Hong Kong International Airport for recreational and other purposes. The department said that due to various factors such as weather and currents, large wastes including bamboo poles often flow into the park and accumulate there.
It has also contacted another government agency, including issuing a notice, in efforts to trace the source of the panels. “No information has been received so far,” the department said, adding that arrangements were being made for the contractor to remove the panels this week.
Hong Kong is a densely populated city and one of the world’s busiest container ports. According to government data, more than 14,000 tons (31 million pounds) of plastic marine debris were collected annually in the years before the pandemic.
Most solar panels end up in landfills after their typical three-decade lifespan, and most territories, including Hong Kong, don’t require recycling. BloombergNEF estimates that the use of solar panel waste will rise from 18,000 tons (36 million pounds) in 2019 to 10 million tons worldwide by 2050. But they still make up a fraction of other types of waste generated annually, such as electronics.