Government’s Measures

The Government has various cleanup arrangements and promotional measures to keep the shorelines clean. The details undertaken by relevant departments are set out as follows:

Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department

The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) is responsible for the cleanliness of the Marine Parks & Marine Reserve (Figure 1).  The department keeps the cleanliness of coastal waters in these areas by engaging contractors for the regular cleanup and proper disposal of refuse. Depending on the field situation, the cleansing frequency range from 4 to 6 times for marine parks and twice per month for the Cape D' Aguilar Marine Reserve where no recreational activities are allowed.

Figure 1. Marine Parks & Marine Reserve in Hong Kong
Marine Parks & Marine Reserve in Hong Kong<

The Department has deployed wardens to patrol marine parks and marine reserve on a daily basis by both land and sea, giving advice to visitors and taking law enforcement action when necessary.

Education/publicity programmes are being conducted to promote public awareness in clean shorelines through:

  • conveying message of keeping a clean and healthy environment through a wide range of education programmes including seminars, ecotours, school talks, field studies and exhibition;
  • producing posters, leaflets and other publications to enhance public understanding on the importance of keeping the cleanliness in marine parks and marine reserve;
  • erecting different sign and information boards along the coast of marine parks to remind the marine park visitors of keeping the shoreline clean.

Environmental Protection Department

As the secretariat of the Inter-departmental Working Group on Clean Shorelines, the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) plays a role in coordinating and strengthening member departments’ efforts to address marine refuse problem in Hong Kong which includes conducting thematic studies, formulating responding strategies based on the study findings, reviewing the effectiveness of these strategies and exploring various measures with a view to continuously improving the cleanliness of our shorelines. EPD has set up a system to perform real-time monitoring of rainfall data and to predict the coastal areas which may be potentially affected by massive amount of marine refuse, and will make use of the results to remind relevant departments to stay vigilant so as to deploy resources and manpower in advance and make preparations accordingly. The relevant departments will step up patrolling and cleaning up of marine refuse according to existing mechanism.

In addition, EPD will conduct site inspections to the priority sites on a regular basis. EPD will assess and rate the cleanliness condition of these sites using a five-level Shoreline Cleanliness Grading system (Figure 2) to assess the effectiveness of the enhanced cleaning work in the priority sites. If any priority site is graded as “Grade 3 – Fair” or above, EPD will immediately notify the relevant departments to follow up and coordinate them to implement improvement measures with a view to enhancing the cleaning capability in a timely manner.

Apart from co-ordinating the efforts of relevant departments, EPD has also endeavoured to educate our community in this aspect to enhance the public awareness of keeping our shorelines clean. Such efforts include managing the thematic website “Clean Shorelines”, broadcasting announcements of public interest and organising various publicity and education activities (e.g. Shorelines Cleanup Day, roving exhibitions and design competitions), which all aim at helping members of the public better understand the marine refuse problem, thereby encouraging them to change their habits to reduce waste at source and prevent refuse from entering the sea. EPD will also provide advice and support for various community groups to organise shorelines cleanup activities such as sending representatives to explain the cause of and solutions to marine refuse, providing tools and resources for cleanup activities, etc.

Illustration of the Five-level Shoreline Cleanliness Gradings
Grade 1: Clean
Grade 2: Satisfactory
Grade 3: Fair
Grade 4: Unsatisfactory
Grade 5: Poor

Food and Environmental Hygiene Department

The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) is responsible for the cleanliness of ungazetted beaches and coastal areas, except those areas under the purview of other government departments.

The cleanup of these ungazetted beaches and coastal areas is undertaken both by FEHD’s in-house staff and cleansing contractors.  Depending on the field situation, the cleansing frequency ranges from daily to half yearly.

FEHD staff will conduct regular inspections at ungazetted beaches and coastal areas to ensure that they are properly cleaned.  Where situation so warrants, FEHD will arrange additional cleansing.

Besides its own cleansing services, FEHD will also participate in regular and ad-hoc programmes co-ordinated among the concerned government departments (e.g. MD, EPD, FEHD, LCSD, AFCD, etc.) in monitoring and collection of spillage and refuse washed ashore on ungazetted beaches and coastal areas.

Furthermore, FEHD has placed litter containers at suitable locations for use by the public and put up notices warning against littering at strategic nearshore locations.

Leisure and Cultural Services Department

The Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) is responsible for the cleanliness of all 41 gazetted beaches (Figure 2) and has been closely monitoring the condition of these beaches. The department deploys workers to perform cleansing duties at gazetted beaches on a daily basis, at least twice per day.  When substantial amounts of sea-borne refuse are found in beach water which has affected swimmers, special contractors will be arranged to clear the floating refuse inside the swimming zone of the beaches. Apart from this, beach staff will alert the Marine Department to clear floating refuse near beaches.

Figure 2: Gazetted Beaches in Hong Kong
Gazatted Beaches

Apart from the normal cleansing service, the department will also:

  • arrange for its mobile cleansing team to assist the cleansing work ashore when necessary (e.g. after typhoon attacks and/or sudden occurrence of massive sea-borne refuse);
  • arrange for its contractor to clear refuse attached on marker buoys, floating pipes of shark prevention nets and shark prevention nets twice a week;
  • request the Marine Department to deploy refuse collection boats to clear marine refuse in case large amounts of floating refuse are found in waters close to gazetted beaches;
  • request the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department to clean up any refuse found along the shore outside gazetted beaches;
  • remind swimmers to keep beaches clean at all times by posting notices and broadcasting at beaches.

Marine Department

The Marine Department (MD) is responsible for the sea surface cleanliness of Hong Kong waters.  The services provided by the department include scavenging floating refuse from sea and foreshore areas, and free of charge domestic refuse collecting service for local vessels inside typhoon shelters and sea-going ships moored in anchorages and government mooring buoys.

Besides regular scavenging services, MD’s contractor will also assist green groups to dispose of the refuse collected at beaches after their cleanup operations.  The foreshore cleansing force of MD’s contractor may also work together with green group volunteers to clean up marine refuse accumulated at foreshore areas which are inaccessible by land.

The marine refuse cleansing services cover the whole of Hong Kong waters (Figure 3) and the services hours are shown in Table 1.  

Figure 3: Marine refuse cleansing services areas
Marine refuse cleansing services areas

Table 1: Marine refuse and foreshore cleansing services hours
Cleansing Services Hours of Operation
Marine refuse cleansing services 0800 - 1800 hours every day (including Sundays and general holidays)
Foreshore cleansing services 0800 - 1900 hours every day (except Sundays and general holidays)

The cleanliness conditions of the sea are rated in Good, Satisfactory, Fair, Unsatisfactory and Poor levels as shown in Figure 4.  The contractor shall maintain the service areas at or above the Satisfactory level between 0800 and 1800 hours.

Figure 4: Illustration of level of Cleanliness –
Standards in Marine Refuse Cleansing and Disposal Services Managed by Marine Department

Open sea

Good cleanliness condition of open sea
Satisfactory cleanliness condition of open sea
Fair cleanliness condition of open sea
Unsatisfactory cleanliness condition of open sea
Poor cleanliness condition of open sea

Typhoon shelter

Good cleanliness condition of typhoon shelter
Satisfactory cleanliness condition of typhoon shelter
Fair cleanliness condition of typhoon shelter
Unsatisfactory cleanliness condition of typhoon shelter
Poor cleanliness condition of typhoon shelter

Special sites

Good cleanliness condition of coastal area
Satisfactory cleanliness condition of coastal area
Fair cleanliness condition of coastal area
Unsatisfactory cleanliness condition of coastal area
Poor cleanliness condition of coastal area

If the sea cleanliness falls below the Satisfactory level, the above Satisfactory level shall be re-established within 30 minutes, 60 minutes, and 120 minutes respectively in Zone 1, Zone 2, and Zone 3 as indicated in Figure 3.

During the service hours, notwithstanding the cleanliness conditions within the service areas, at least 50% of the contractor’s scavenging/collection fleet are required to be in operation carrying out the services or patrolling the designated service areas in search of floating refuse.

Besides the above regular services, MD also conducts publicity programmes:

  • coordinating joint departmental meeting with representatives of concerned floating communities prior to the Lunar New Year and Fishing Moratorium Period to raise the fishing communities’ awareness of keeping the sea clean;
  • conducting regular visits and inspections of fish wholesale markets, marine works sites, boat anchorages to ensure that proper refuse disposal arrangements are in place and no refuse would be discharged into the sea.

Drainage Services Department

Drainage Services Department (DSD) is responsible for providing wastewater and stormwater drainage services enabling the sustainable development of Hong Kong. DSD has installed a floating boom at the box culvert outfall inside Aberdeen Typhoon Shelter (Figure 5) to try out the feasibility of trapping refuse before it enters the sea.

Figure 5: Installed floating boom at the box culvert inside Aberdeen Typhoon Shelter

Figure 6: Installed Silt Curtain at Outfall of Lai Chi Kok Drainage Tunnel

 

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