LCQ10: Public toilet facilities

     Following is a question by the Hon Fred Li and a written reply by the Secretary for Food and Health, Dr York Chow, in the Legislative Council today (March 2):


     The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) has applied the concept of gender mainstreaming and considered the distinctive needs of both sexes when planning public toilet facilities under FEHD; since April 2004, the ratio of water closet compartments for female to those for male has been increased from 1.5:1 to 2:1.  Moreover, FEHD has indicated that after considering the different needs of both sexes, it will install racks, hangers, baby-changing counters and emergency call bells in public toilets where possible for the convenience of users.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) whether the authorities will install babycare facilities in both male and female public toilets; if not, of the reasons for that ;

(b) of the number of public toilets (including male and female toilets) in the whole of Hong Kong in which facilities such as racks and baby-changing counters cannot be installed, and the percentage of such number in the total number of public toilets in Hong Kong; the reasons for the authorities not being able to install such facilities, and whether they will carry out alteration works in such public toilets so as to install the aforesaid facilities; and

(c) whether the authorities will list the aforesaid facilities as standard facilities for new public toilets; if not, of the reasons for that?



     One of the major tasks of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) is to provide quality environmental hygiene services and facilities.  In response to the rising expectations of the community over public toilets, the FEHD is committed to further enhance the hygiene, convenience, safety and comfort of these facilities.

     In recent years, the FEHD has made continuous efforts to enhance the public toilet facilities under its management.  The following new standards have generally been adopted, whenever circumstances permit, in planning for new public toilets, reprovisioning or refurbishing existing ones, and converting aqua privies into flushing toilets.  These include:

(1) pursuant to the Government policy of incorporating gender mainstreaming in project design and to meet the needs of both genders, the FEHD has, since April 2004, increased the ratio of female to male toilet compartments from 1.5:1 to 2:1;

(2) since mid-2001, baby facilities (baby changing counters) and emergency call bells have been installed in male and female toilets, and coat hooks and racks for users to place their personal belongings have been provided inside toilet compartments; and

(3) since mid-2008, subject to the location and size of the public toilets, the FEHD has included the provision of a baby seat in one of the compartments in both the male and female toilets with a relevant signage affixed to the compartment doors.

     My reply to the three parts of the question is as follows:

(a) The provision of baby changing counters and other facilities as well as the provision of a baby seat in one of the toilet compartments, as mentioned in (2) and (3) above, are applicable to both male and female toilets.

(b) and (c) At present, among the 851 public toilets under the management of the FEHD, about 70% (i.e. 595) are provided with racks for placing personal belongings, and about 33% (i.e. 285) have baby facilities.  

     The FEHD has included baby facilities mentioned in (2) and (3) above in the standard provision for new public toilets.  In planning for new public toilets, reprovisioning or refurbishing existing ones and converting aqua privies into flushing toilets, the FEHD will provide racks, coat hooks, baby facilities and emergency call bells in both male and female toilets whenever circumstances permit.  Existing public toilets without racks and baby facilities are mainly aqua privies yet to be converted into flushing toilets.  Besides, there are some flushing toilets converted from aqua privies which cannot be provided with baby facilities due to site constraints.

Ends/Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Issued at HKT 12:56