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Progress of cleaning up palm stearin
     The Government today (August 17) continued to clean up the palm stearin on the sea surface and at the beaches.
     From the inspections conducted today, gradual improvement in the situation was observed. The oil content of water samples collected from the beaches concerned remained at a low level. While the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) has continued to conduct routine cleanup in the 11 beaches reopened earlier and their cleanliness condition was satisfactory, there might still be trace amounts of palm stearin pellets remaining in the sand. The LCSD reminded swimmers to stay alert when using the reopened beaches, not to play with or take in palm stearin, and to rinse their feet before entering changing rooms to prevent surfaces becoming slippery with palm stearin. The government departments will continue to monitor the situation and enhance the cleanup of palm stearin, with a view to reopening the temporarily closed Hung Shing Yeh Beach and Lo So Shing Beach as soon as possible.
     The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) has not found any mariculturists being affected by the incident so far. No palm stearin was found at fish culture zones or in their vicinity today. In addition, while the Cape D'Aguilar Marine Reserve and the nesting site of Green Turtles in Sham Wan on Lamma Island have by and large been cleaned up after the cleaning work in the past few days, the AFCD and relevant departments will maintain their cleanup efforts so as to remove palm stearin possibly remaining at the sites. The AFCD will continue to monitor the impact on the fishing industry and the marine environment, especially in waters with important ecological value.
     The Marine Department, the LCSD, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, the AFCD and the Environmental Protection Department deployed around 120 staff members in total for conducting inspections and cleanup today to tackle the palm stearin leakage incident. As at noon today, the government departments had collected some 211 tonnes (i.e. 211 000 kilograms) of palm stearin recovered on the sea surface and at the beaches.
Ends/Thursday, August 17, 2017
Issued at HKT 19:53
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