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New phase of "Take Your Litter Home" public education programme to be launched in September
     The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) will launch the second phase of the "Take Your Litter Home" public education programme in September. All family walks and nature trails will be made litter bin-free to dovetail with the promotion of taking litter away to younger visitors to the country parks.

     An AFCD spokesman said today (August 26) that the Country and Marine Parks Board was briefed by the department today on the results of the first phase of the programme and discussed the proposed plan for the next phase. Members were pleased with the outcomes of the first phase and supportive of the launch of the second phase.

     The AFCD launched the "Take Your Litter Home" public education programme last September. All litter bins were removed from five trial sites, namely Tai Po Kau Nature Reserve, Ma On Shan Country Trail, Tai Lam Chung Country Trail, Dragon's Back on Hong Kong Island and Lantau Trail Section 3 on Lantau Island. Through various publicity activities, hikers were encouraged to nurture a habit of taking their litter away to help protect the unspoiled environment of the country parks.

     The spokesman said, "The programme has been well received by the public and yielded good results. Observations and data collected by the AFCD, as well as patrolling reports submitted by volunteer groups and supporting organisations, revealed that overall cleanliness and hygiene at all of the trial sites has been maintained while the amount of litter collected on trails decreased.

     "Compared with the situation before the programme, the amount of litter collected at the trial sites from October 2015 to July 2016 dropped significantly by 72 to 97 per cent, with the greatest drop recorded at Ma On Shan Country Trail. The results suggested that hikers have not only embraced the concept of taking litter away, but also put it into practice. We therefore consider there is room for the removal of more litter bins."

     At present, there are some 500 litter bins along the trails in country parks. Some 250 bins, representing about half of the total, will be removed by the end of this year.

     All family walks and nature trails which are shorter in distance and less difficult will become litter bin-free after the launch of the second phase of the programme. As hiking has become a popular pastime for families with small children and young people in recent years, the second phase of the programme targets students, youths and junior hikers who tend to use family walks and nature trails more.

     Moreover, the number of litter bins along some of the country trails, long hiking trails and other trails will be reduced but the bins will not be totally removed at this stage.

     During the programme period, the AFCD and 21 supporting organisations will jointly organise a wide range of activities for people of various ages, with some for the general public and others for students and families.

     The AFCD will offer activities for the public to learn more about environmental protection and to help to promote the "Take Your Litter Home" concept through a Nature Ambassador Award Scheme. Other promotional activities to be organised in the coming months include a country park green walk, roving exhibitions, public lectures, a green walk cum family fun day, and more.

     The AFCD's country park volunteers will convey the message of "Take Your Litter Home" to visitors at major trailheads in country parks. The volunteers and supporting organisations will also patrol the trails and collect litter along the way to promote waste reduction. Country park workers will continue to keep the country parks clean while park wardens will step up patrols and enforcement.
Ends/Friday, August 26, 2016
Issued at HKT 18:17
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