Press here to Skip to the main content
Font Size
Default Font Size Larger Font Size Largest Font Size RSS Subscription Advanced Search Sitemap Mobile/Accessible Version 繁體 简体

Teens join Maldives eco-mission

March 22, 2015

Community minded

Community minded:  Ken Lam (first left), Matthew Lo (third left), Jay Lam (second right) and Terry Tsang (first right) took part in a coral regeneration project on their eco-mission to the Maldives.

Reef regeneration

Reef regeneration:  After securing broken pieces of coral onto a frame, team member Matthew Lo places them into the sea.


Eco-warriors:  After visiting the Maldives, siblings Jay and Ken Lam hope to spread the message that tourists should take their rubbish away with them.

The Maldives attract more than a million visitors each year to their turquoise waters and pristine beaches. Four eco-minded Hong Kong teens recently joined the throngs - but they had much more than sun and fun in mind.


The group was taking part in the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups Travel Mission Programme which invites participants to find ways to give back to the local community when visiting abroad.


Most tourists are insulated from everyday life in the Maldives as they are whisked straight to their resorts or island hideaways as soon as they arrive. Not so for siblings Jay and Ken Lam, and their friends Matthew Lo and Terry Tsang. Armed with just $20,000 in sponsorship each for their 10-day mission, they stayed in hostels and homestays that allowed them to get close to the locals and experience the culture.


Marine savers

The Maldives' more than 1,000 islands have become one of the world's most famous scuba diving destinations. Tourists exploring the endangered reefs are warned not to touch the coral which provides a vital framework to the eco-balance of this part of the Indian Ocean.


The four Hong Kong teens joined local marine biologists on a coral conservation project, helping secure broken pieces of coral onto frames and placing them into the sea.


"Coral planting allows the broken pieces to grow again. Tourists can also take part in conservation projects to help save the environment," Jay Lam explained.


On the record

A film crew recorded every step of the teens' journey and uploaded video online so they could share their findings with people all over the world. Mindful of their green mission, the crew brought their used camera batteries back to Hong Kong for disposal as the islands cannot handle such waste.


"You may think the Maldives are far away from Hong Kong and have nothing to do with us. In fact we can do something to help - simple things like bringing back our rubbish," Ken and Jay Lam noted.


The youth group federation programme encourages people aged 18 to 35 to submit travel plans under different themes. The chosen teams are joined by a film crew to document the experience.


To date, 13 teams have been awarded funding ranging from $8,000 to $20,000 per person to travel to places including Cambodia, Japan, Yunnan, Russia, Myanmar, Nepal and South Korea.

Plastic Shopping Bag Charging  Travelling Outside Hong Kong