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DCS chairs third meeting of District Matters Co-ordination Task Force (with photo)
     The Deputy Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Cheuk Wing-hing, chaired the third meeting of the District Matters Co-ordination Task Force today (November 14) to review the progress of the Government Programme on Tackling Hygiene Black Spots and examine the work plans of various departments for the coming six months and their work indicators.
     Since the launch of the Programme in mid-August this year, the Task Force has fully attained the work targets set out therein. Specifically, in the past three months, various departments have stepped up enforcement actions at more than 650 hygiene black spots and strengthened the cleansing of more than 3 600 public places. Joint operations were conducted at more than 100 public back alleys with a total of 290 abandoned vehicles removed. The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) and the Hong Kong Police Force have conducted 162 joint enforcement actions in different districts since October to tackle shop front extension. The Buildings Department has also removed/repaired more than 1 600 dangerous and abandoned signboards.
     Mr Cheuk thanked colleagues of the departments concerned for taking concerted actions in a result-oriented approach, actively participating in establishing a standard mode of operation for clearing abandoned vehicles in back alleys and tackling shop front extension, through rationalising the responsibilities of departments and the relevant workflow. Following the implementation of the standard modes of operation in districts, city cleanliness has been enhanced and the problem of shop front extension has been vastly improved.
     He said, "In the past three months, the public can see an overall improvement in environmental hygiene, and have a taste of the joy of having a clean city. Government departments have also demonstrated that they have the resolve in bettering environmental hygiene. Our society is now at a critical juncture in upholding cleanliness, cherishing the cityscape, and driving behavioural and cultural changes. The Government cannot and will not loosen up on its efforts and intensity in hitting out at hygiene black spots. We need to maintain a high level of vigilance against offenders' changing tactics to evade the law and relapsing to non-compliance, to avoid spoiling our good work so far owing to a lack of final efforts. All departments will unite in meeting the indicators stated in the Policy Address, such as clearing at least 75 per cent of the some 600 environmental hygiene black spots before the end of 2023, and reducing the main rodent black spots by half from around 100. We are deeply concerned about the rodent infestation problems. Apart from actively following up on rodent reports, the Environment and Ecology Bureau and the FEHD are piloting and examining new rodent control methods and will announce a territory-wide rodent control campaign by the end of next month.
     "The existing environmental-hygiene related legislation has been in place for many years, and requires updating to keep up with the changing needs of society and law enforcement. We are reviewing the existing legislation relating to environmental hygiene to raise the statutory powers of enforcement officers and the penalties for default. We plan to report to the Panel on Food Safety and Environmental Hygiene of the Legislative Council next month on the proposed legislative amendments to the fixed penalty provisions. We will complete reviewing the remaining environmental hygiene-related legislation by mid-2023, so as to enhance the effectiveness and deterrence of law enforcement."
     The Task Force has discussed the proposals made by various departments regarding their key performance indicators. Departments will consider the views raised in the meeting and make amendments accordingly, with a view to including these recommendations in their respective Controlling Officers' Report. The Task Force has also received initial recommendations on cityscape improvement, and will start in-depth discussions with the departments concerned.
Ends/Monday, November 14, 2022
Issued at HKT 18:47
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The Deputy Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Cheuk Wing-hing, today (November 14) chairs the third meeting of the District Matters Co-ordination Task Force.