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CE and Directors of Bureaux take part in shoreline clean-up (with photos/video)

     In response to the unusually large amount of marine refuse found at gazetted beaches, non-gazetted beaches and coastal areas in the southern part of Hong Kong, the Chief Executive, Mr C Y Leung, together with a number of Directors of Bureaux and senior government officials, today (July 10) inspected the clean-up operation at Upper Cheung Sha Beach and Shui Hau on Lantau Island. They also took part in the clean-up at Shui Hau to promote awareness of keeping the shorelines clean. The government officials who had also participated in the event were the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung; the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Professor K C Chan; the Secretary for the Environment, Mr Wong Kam-sing; the Secretary for Development, Mr Paul Chan; the Secretary for Innovation and Technology, Mr Nicholas W Yang; and the Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Lau Kong-wah.

     Mr Leung and the government officials first visited Upper Cheung Sha Beach. In her briefing, the Director of Leisure and Cultural Services, Ms Michelle Li, mentioned that among the 41 gazetted beaches, marine refuse was found at eight beaches starting from mid-June. Among those beaches, a large amount of marine refuse was found in Lower Cheung Sha, Pui O and Tong Fuk between July 1 and 3. The Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) had immediately stepped up the clean-up work and the situation of these beaches has now already returned to normal.

     Afterwards, Mr Leung and other government officials visited another affected area, Shui Hau, to learn about how refuse was accumulated in the area. They were briefed by the Director of Food and Environmental Hygiene, Ms Vivian Lau, on the department's efforts in cleaning up the area and other non-gazetted beaches. As there are no venue-based cleansing staff in these areas, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) will take into consideration the cleanliness condition of the location, and other factors like accessibility, transportation, weather, safety and technical issues, and complete the cleanup work as soon as practicable. If necessary, the FEHD will conduct joint operations with relevant departments.

     From July 1 to 9, the LCSD and the FEHD had collected 78 000kg of marine refuse from the affected beaches and coastal areas. Various government departments will continue to closely monitor the situation, while members of the public are also welcome to report to government departments if large amount of marine refuse is found at specific locations so that timely clean-up operation could be arranged. Moreover, the Government thanks members of the public for initiating shorelines clean-up, showing their concern and care for the marine environment.

     Later on, Mr Leung and the Directors of Bureaux were joined by staff from various departments to help collect refuse at Shui Hau, with a total of 1 350 kg of refuse collected.

     A Government spokesman said, according to the Marine Refuse Study released by the Inter-departmental Working Group on Clean Shorelines last year, over 80 per cent of the marine refuse originated from local land areas, among which the majority was generated from coastal and recreational activities. Therefore, keeping the shorelines clean cannot be achieved by solely relying on cleanup operations organised by the Government and other organisations. It is more important that members of the public change their habits and jointly bear the responsibility to protect the environment. The Working Group will continue to encourage the public through public education to actively participate in waste reduction at source and to avoid the use of disposable items and to practice waste separation/recycling in order to keep our shorelines clean. In addition, the Government will explore to install more drinking fountains at beaches and other recreational facilities to encourage bathers and facility users to reduce the use of disposable water bottles.

     The Inter-departmental Working Group on Clean Shorelines was set up in 2012 to tackle the marine refuse problem through inter-departmental collaboration as well as joint government and community efforts. Co-ordinated by the Environment Bureau, the Working Group members comprise the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, the Environmental Protection Department, the FEHD, the LCSD, the Marine Department, the Civil Engineering and Development Department, the Drainage Services Department and the Lands Department.

Ends/Sunday, July 10, 2016
Issued at HKT 18:41


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