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Progress of cleaning up palm stearin
     The Government today (August 13) continued to clean up the palm stearin on the sea surface and at the beaches.

     From the inspections conducted today, significant improvement in situation was observed as compared to that of earlier days. The oil content of water samples collected from beaches concerned also remained at a low level. As for the five beaches reopened on August 11, while the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) continued to conduct routine cleanup and their cleanliness condition was satisfactory, there might still be trace amount of palm stearin pellets remained in the sand. The LCSD reminded swimmers to stay alert when using the re-opened beaches, not to play with or take in palm stearin, and to rinse their feet before entering changing rooms to avoid slippery caused by the palm stearin stuck. The government departments will continue to monitor the situation and enhance cleanup of palm stearin, with a view to reopening the remaining beaches concerned as soon as possible.

     On the other hand, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) did not find any mariculturist being affected by the incident so far. No palm stearin was found at fish culture zones or in their vicinity today. The oil boom deployed at Lo Tik Wan fish culture zone kept preventing palm stearin from entering the fish culture zone. In addition, the amount of palm stearin found in the Cape D'Aguilar Marine Reserve, and the nesting site of Green Turtles in Sham Wan on Lamma Island has reduced substantially after the cleaning work in the past few days. The AFCD will continue to monitor the impact on the fishing industry and the marine environment, especially that of waters with important ecological value.

     Currently, the Marine Department, the LCSD, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, the AFCD and the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) deployed around 300 staff members in total for conducting inspections and cleanup on a daily basis to tackle with this palm stearin leakage incident. As at 12 noon today, the government departments collected some 201 tonnes (i. e. 201 000 kilograms) of palm stearin recovered on the sea surface and at the beaches.  In addition, the EPD also provided assistance and support to a number of organisations conducting cleanup of palm stearin on Lantau, Lamma Island and Southern District.
Ends/Sunday, August 13, 2017
Issued at HKT 18:35
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