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Keep clean campaign turns a new page

     To fortify public awareness and promote concerted efforts to improve environmental hygiene, the Government launched a two-month "Keep Clean 2015@Hong Kong: Our Home" campaign.  The campaign, kicked off by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Carrie Lam, on August 1, ended today (September 30).  This also marks the inauguration of a new page for the cleanliness campaign in Hong Kong.

     As the coordinator of the campaign, Mrs Lam extends her thanks to district personalities and organisations, and various sectors for the strong support that they have rendered to the campaign.  A good number of events have been organised to promote the message of keeping Hong Kong clean.  At the same time, efforts to improve environmental hygiene have been stepped up, including in particular the clearing of hygiene blackspots.  Measures have also been devised to tackle some long-standing, serious and thorny environmental hygiene problems including those posed by private streets and private rear lanes, "three nil" buildings, marine refuse and construction waste.

     During the campaign, the relevant bureaux and departments have made use of their existing resources and mobilised support from different sectors to enhance cleansing work under their purview, in collaboration with each other.  For instance, the street washing vehicles and tipper lorries under the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) have respectively carried out an additional 7 320 and 12 688 hours of service; the Drainage Services Department has cleared underground sewers and drains at blockage-prone areas, hygiene blackspots, downstream areas to hospitals, major clinics and public markets, downstream areas to cooked food centres and where many restaurants are located, totalling about 86 kilometres in length; the Marine Department has carried out 10 special foreshore cleaning operations; and the Social Welfare Department has provided one-off allocations or cleansing consumables to about 1 860 subvented/subsidised day and residential service units and 707 self-financing and private residential care homes for the elderly and persons with disabilities and contract homes to assist them in their cleansing work.

     Furthermore, the Government has arranged special cleansing operations during the campaign period for the common areas of 484 "three nil" buildings, 36 private streets and 14 private rear lanes.  We hope that the benefits demonstrated by such special cleansing operations would encourage the owners of private premises to come forth and shoulder the responsibility of managing, cleansing and maintaining the common areas of their private premises.  As regards "three nil" buildings, the Government is assisting the relevant private property owners to set up owners' corporations.  We look forward to receiving support from the District Councils (DC) in helping to promote the Government's cause in this respect.  Subject to the availability of resources and the request by the DC, FEHD will consider providing routine cleansing services for private streets and private rear lanes with environmental hygiene problems.

     The Government has held publicity and public education activities at 26 blackspots on proper disposal of construction waste, and has installed surveillance cameras at 12 blackspots to deter illegal fly-tipping activities of construction waste and facilitate subsequent enforcement action.

     In the case of marine refuse, the Government has organised a number of promotion and public education activities, such as clean shorelines roving exhibitions and Shorelines Cleanup Day.  The Government has increased the cleansing operations at 27 priority sites by around 440 times in 2015-16.

     During the campaign, the Government has received referrals on more than 200 hygiene blackspots and acted on them.  Overall speaking, the hygiene conditions of the blackspots have been markedly improved, thanks to the cleansing efforts that the relevant parties have put in.  However, to keep up the positive results, we could not rely merely on increasing the frequency at which a certain blackspot is cleared, or, for that matter, public appeals calling for those breaching the law to exercise self-discipline.  Members of the public and shopkeepers must make keeping the environment clean as part of their internalised routine.  The Government hopes that the public and local organisations will continue to monitor the overall state of cleanliness and give information and suggestions on areas that require improvement.  This will help the Government to follow up and formulate appropriate strategies, utilising the Environmental Hygiene Committees of the DC as a consultation platform.

     Besides, the FEHD is reviewing the cleansing contract tendering system, guided by the need to uphold the requirements on service quality and observe the principle of value for money.  The department will continue to closely monitor the service performance of contractors to ensure that they deliver in accordance with the contract requirements.

     Without the persistent and active participation of different sectors of the community, the work of keeping Hong Kong clean would be a thankless task.  To tackle the hygiene problems at places such as blackspots, private streets, private rear lanes and "three nil" buildings, members of the public and relevant property owners and shopkeepers must play their part and join hands with the Government to keep the environment clean.  The importance of civic mindedness and self-discipline could not be over-emphasised.

     The keep clean campaign in Hong Kong will turn a new page in October, marking the inauguration of further efforts to entrench the spirit of the campaign.  The Government will review the experience gained in the two-month campaign and study how to build on the positive results generated by our collaboration with the community, in furtherance of our objective to sustain the cleanliness efforts.

     The Government will continue to communicate with the DC, the community and stakeholders in various sectors to study ways to keep the environment clean in a more effective way.  The Secretary for Food and Health will meet with the Chairmen and Vice-chairmen of the Environmental Hygiene Committees of the DC every six months to keep track of the latest environmental hygiene situations and key areas requiring attention in order to review and adjust the relevant strategies in a timely manner.

     The Government will also step up publicity and public education activities to arouse public awareness of the importance of concerted efforts in making possible a healthy and clean environment for everyone.

Ends/Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Issued at HKT 22:19


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