Government committed to enhancing shorelines cleanliness (with photos)
Starting from October 1, 2017, the relevant contractor for the Marine Department (MD) has been providing about 80 scavenging vessels of various types to clean up floating refuse in Hong Kong waters, as well as improving the domestic refuse collection service for vessels inside typhoon shelters and anchorages. The contractor's fleet includes six new quick response workboats and two scavenging catamarans equipped with mechanical devices to increase the efficiency of clean-up operation in narrow water channels and to enhance scavenging service in offshore waters. In addition, the number of foreshore cleaning teams has been increased from two to three in order to step up efforts in cleaning up the foreshore areas.
Regarding shorelines cleaning work, the government departments concerned (namely the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department and the MD) stepped up their cleaning efforts at the 27 priority sites for marine refuse over the past two years, in response to the Marine Refuse Study report published in April 2015 by the Working Group. The relevant departments increased the total number of clean-up operations per year at these sites by nearly 50 per cent.
For the sake of better deployment of resources for improving shorelines cleanliness, the Environmental Protection Department has reassessed the coastal sites across the territory based on a number of factors including cleanliness, the amount of refuse collected, cleaning frequency, geographical and hydrodynamic conditions, public accessibility, ecological value and concerns raised by the public, and revised the list of priority sites accordingly.
There are 29 priority sites in the revised list with 15 retained from the old list and 14 new ones (see Annex). The relevant departments will enhance their efforts in cleaning up each of the priority sites in the revised list with regard to their actual situation.
Among the 27 priority sites in the old list, 12 of them have shown sustained improvements in their cleanliness conditions and hence are no longer included in the revised list. Nevertheless, the departments concerned will continue to maintain the current cleaning frequency for these sites.
The Working Group organised a public engagement session in October 2017 to brief community groups and the public on the Government's efforts in tackling marine refuse and to encourage an exchange of views between participants and representatives of the member departments on issues related to tackling marine refuse and maintaining clean shorelines.
On regional co-operation, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government launched a trial notification and alert system on marine refuse last May to monitor the real-time rainfall data of Hong Kong and 13 cities of Guangdong Province in the Pearl River catchment so as to help predict the coastal areas of the two sides which may be potentially affected by a massive amount of marine refuse. So far, the notification mechanism has been activated seven times, with notifications issued in response to heavy rainfall, flooding or other significant environmental incidents. The Working Group will continue to strengthen collaboration with relevant Guangdong authorities through the Hong Kong-Guangdong Marine Environmental Management Special Panel.
The member departments of the Working Group will continue to take forward various improvement measures including co-organising Shorelines Clean-up Day activities with non-governmental organisations and community groups, organising various publicity and education activities, and providing funding support through the Environment and Conservation Fund to community projects related to clean shorelines. These measures are aimed at raising environmental awareness of members of the public, thereby encouraging them to change their habits so as to reduce waste at source and prevent refuse from entering the sea. The relevant details are available at the Working Group's thematic website: www.epd.gov.hk/epd/clean_shorelines.
Ends/Monday, January 15, 2018
Issued at HKT 20:09
Issued at HKT 20:09