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Transcript of remarks by SEN (with photos)

     Following is the transcript of remarks by the Secretary for the Environment, Mr Wong Kam-sing, on the retrofitting scheme for fully enclosed refuse collection vehicles (RCVs) during an inspection of the newly retrofitted RCVs at Island West Transfer Station today (October 25):

Secretary for the Environment: Today, we are going to inspect some of the retrofitted refuse collection vehicles. They are to be fully enclosed, that means, they would involve two features: a fully enclosed tailgate cover and also a waste water sump tank. With these features, the environmental performance of these RCVs can be enhanced so that many environmental nuisances in the neighbourhood can be minimised. In Hong Kong, there are about 530 RCVs in total. Up to now, about half of them have been fully enclosed. So the Government is committed to improve all the RCVs in Hong Kong with two approaches. Firstly, we would like to subsidise the retrofit. Secondly, we would like to mandate all RCVs in the future. When they are going to use the Government's refuse disposal facilities, they have to be fully enclosed. In summer, around August this year, the EPD (Environmental Protection Department) had been working with the trade to launch a pilot scheme to retrofit the RCVs. The response from the trade has been positive. Up to now, about 40 RCVs have applied for the pilot retrofit scheme. The EMSD (Electrical and Mechanical Services Department) has been supporting the scheme with full technical support.

     We would like to see the retrofitting of all the RCVs as soon as possible. We would like to put the law amendment to the LegCo (Legislative Council) for endorsement within this year, and we are going to apply for funding from the Finance Committee within this year. With all this support, we would like to launch this full retrofit scheme by January next year. We would like to see the support from the trade and the LegCo so that we can enhance the overall environmental performance of these RCVs in Hong Kong so that the whole Hong Kong could be benefited. Thank you.

Reporter: Mr Wong, the retrofitting of the vehicles is only one of the measures you propose to alleviate the problems of people living in Tseung Kwan O. Can you tell us about the progress of the other two measures, that is, less vehicles on Sundays and the other measure?

Secretary for the Environment: The other measures are being arranged according to our committed schedule. So within this year, we would like to have a full basket of measures, including the liaison with the CEDD (Civil Engineering and Development Department) so that the fill bank operation would be minimised during Sundays and public holidays. We would also put up proposals to review the charges of Refuse Transfer Stations (RTSs) so that the diversion of waste from SENT (South East New Territories) Landfill to the RTSs could be optimised soon.

Reporter: Do you think measures like this will soften the resistance to the Government's landfill expansion plan?

Secretary for the Environment: I think this is one of the initiatives that we would like to launch to provide positive response to the whole Hong Kong, not only the people living near the landfills. This RCVs retrofit would enhance the overall environmental performance of the RCVs running around the whole territory, so it is not only helping us to reduce the burden to the neighbourhood around the landfills, but also to enhance the environmental performance or hygiene of the whole Hong Kong.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Ends/Friday, October 25, 2013
Issued at HKT 18:35


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