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CS inspects cleaning work at Lap Sap Wan (with photo/video)

     The Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Carrie Lam, inspected cleaning work at Lap Sap Wan, Shek O, this afternoon (July 28) and received a briefing on the work on shoreline cleaning by various departments. Mrs Lam was accompanied by the Secretary for Food and Health, Dr Ko Wing-man; the Acting Secretary for the Environment, Ms Christine Loh; the Director of Environmental Protection, Ms Anissa Wong; and the Director of Food and Environmental Hygiene, Miss Vivian Lau.

     Shoreline cleaning work is mainly carried out by four government departments, namely the Leisure and Cultural Services Department; the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department; the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD); and the Marine Department (MD). They are respectively responsible for the cleaning of the 41 gazetted beaches in Hong Kong, the Marine Parks and the Marine Reserve, other coastal areas, and Hong Kong waters. The Inter-departmental Working Group on Clean Shorelines, convened by the Environmental Protection Department, was set up by the Government in November 2012 to co-ordinate the shoreline cleaning work among the departments, and to step up public education and promotion efforts to encourage the public not to leave trash during outdoor activities, with the aim of protecting the marine ecosystem.

     In addition, the Working Group conducted a comprehensive study on marine refuse in Hong Kong. The study indicates that wind direction and water currents have a marked effect on refuse accumulation in coastal areas. It has identified 27 priority sites prone to refuse accumulation for the relevant Working Group departments to strengthen clean-up activities. Lap Sap Wan is one of the priority sites prone to refuse accumulation.

     Departmental representatives explained to Mrs Lam that Lap Sap Wan is located in a remote area and refuse is brought to the site by water currents and accumulates over time. Because of geographical constraints, on-site clearing is confined to between May and August every year, increasing the level of difficulty to clean up the refuse there.

     To restore the cleanliness of the site, the FEHD and the MD have conducted a joint operation. As at July 26, around 8 290 bags of refuse have been collected from Lap Sap Wan. If weather conditions allow, it is expected that most of the refuse accumulated on the shoreline can be cleared by the end of July. The FEHD will also conduct regular clean-up activities at Lap Sap Wan in the future.

     Mrs Lam said after receiving a briefing by departmental representatives that clearing refuse along coastal areas has its own difficulty. However, for the sake of keeping the shoreline clean, Mrs Lam urged relevant departments to step up their efforts in clearing marine refuse.

     In 2014, the total quantity of marine refuse (including floating refuse, shoreline refuse washed up on the shores and natural debris) collected by the departments was some 15 200 tonnes. Most marine refuse comprises disposable plastic items, such as foam plastic, and large items like fishing nets.

     Mrs Lam said, "Keeping the environment clean and promoting healthy development of the marine ecosystem is not solely the responsibility of the Government, as public co-operation also plays an indispensable role. If non-natural objects are not abandoned in the sea, there would be no problem of marine refuse."

     She added that the Government is going to launch the "Clean Hong Kong 2015@Hong Kong Our Home" campaign in August to raise public awareness on environmental hygiene and to call on the public to join the Government and various organisations and local groups to keep Hong Kong clean.

Ends/Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Issued at HKT 17:44


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