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Advisory Council on the Environment

Half Yearly Progress Report of the Interdepartmental
Working Group on Flytipping Control (March 1999)

 

(ACE Paper 13/99)
for information

 

I. Background

Following the winding up of a special inter-departmental task force set up under the auspices of Environmental Protection Department (EPD) to deal with a number of serious cases of indiscriminate and unregulated dumping of waste in the north-west NT, the Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands directed that Task Force (Black Spots) of Lands Department (Lands D) should be responsible for maintaining the momentum which had already been achieved and co-ordinating Government efforts towards quicker and more effective responses to such problems.

2.The Terms of Reference for the Inter-departmental Working Group on Flytipping Control (IWG) are:-

 

  (i) To co-ordinate the efforts of relevant Government departments towards the cleaning-up of illegal dumping of waste and to determine responsibility, where necessary, for specific clean-up operations.

(ii)

To monitor and co-ordinate the progress of the enforcement actions of relevant Government departments against cases of illegal dumping and provide support when necessary.

(iii)

To consider initiatives, including legislative measures, aimed at preventing and controlling illegal dumping activities and recommend implementation where appropriate.

3.Six Inter-departmental Working Group meetings have been held during the period 14.8.98 to 5.3.99. The Departments represented are Lands D, Agriculture and Fisheries Department (AFD), EPD, Highways Department (HyD), Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF), Planning Department (Plan D), Regional Services Department (RSD)and Urban Services Department (USD).

II.Major Actions of the IWG during the period

4.Following the setting up of the IWG, members undertook a review of departmental working arrangements relating to illegal dumping. Thereafter discussions and subsequent actions have been taken on the following major subjects.

(a) Central Database of Flytipping sites

5.Data relating to sites identified by EPD, USD, RSD and Lands D has been received. Task Force Black Spots Lands D are currently inputting the data and completion is expected in April 1999.

6.When completed, the database is expected to be an extremely valuable tool for identifying problem locations and departmental responsibilities. Reference to the database, which will be regularly updated and distributed to the concerned departments, will speed up response time and improve efficiency.

7.Further consideration will be given to other possible uses and it is proposed that a co-ordinated patrolling system (involving Lands D, EPD, RSD and USD) will be created.

(b) Complaint Hotline

8.At the suggestion of the Advisory Council on the Environment, a 24 hour hotline service was created in October 1998 to collect complaints from the public concerning illegal dumping. The service is operated by Task Force Black Spots Lands D and to-date a total of nine complaints have been received. The complaint hotline (2668 0887) was listed in the Healthy Living Campaign 1999 Calendar Card List of Report Hotlines.

(c) Extension of opening hours for public filling areas and public barging points

9.The IWG proposed to Civil Engineering Department that an extension of the daily operating hours of public filling areas and public filling barging points by one hour from the current closing time of 18:00 hours to 19:00 hours could reduce the number of flytipping incidents caused by drivers leaving sites in the early evening and being unable to dispose of fill material at a properly designated site before the current closing time. Such an arrangement would also help to minimize the amount of inert construction and demolition waste being transported to landfills for disposal.

10.Following submission of a paper, the Public Filling Sub-Committee Meeting on 21.1.99 accepted the proposal in principle subject to the clarification of certain issues.

11.The IWG and Task Force Black Spots Lands D will follow up this matter to ensure implementation as soon as practical.

(d) Strengthening of Patrols by District Lands Officers (DLOs)

12.Following consultation with Lands D HQ, DLOs have been instructed to strengthen patrolling. The result to-date has been satisfactory and during the last few months more flytipping cases have been identified. To-date, at least 91 recent/active dumping cases in various districts are being closely watched by the DLOs.

(e) Collection of Animal Carcasses

13.Following consultation by the IWG, RSD advised that letters had been sent to farmers instructing them on the appropriate way to dispose of animal carcasses. AFD also agreed to issue letters to all animal farmers reminding them to dispose of the animal carcasses at appropriate Refuse Collection Points.

(f) Trip Ticket System for Disposal of Construction and Demolition Material

14.Following consultation, members were pleased to note the advanced stage of consideration of the above system by Works Bureau, which resulted in the announcement in February 1999 that with effect from 1 July 1999 a trip-ticket system would be implemented in Public Works Program contracts for the proper disposal of construction and demolition material at public filling facilities or landfills.

15.At the last IWG Meeting members considered that a logical progression would be to consider whether the system should be applied to the private sector and it was agreed to raise this issue with the concerned departments/bureaux.

(g) Monitoring the Progress of Cleaning up Work at Sheung Pak Nai etc.

16.Throughout the period the IWG has monitored the clearance of the above sites and it is reported that work will be completed around April 1999. Expenditure for 1998/1999 is estimated to be $5.5M with a further $4.5M estimated to be expended in 1999/2000.

(h) Co-ordination and Monitoring of identified major dumping cases

17.During the period a number of high profile cases were discussed to co-ordinate and monitor the actions taken by the relevant departments concerned. These included at the following sites:-

 

  (i) Shuen Wan, Tai Po
(ii) Tung Tsz, Tai Po
(iii) Tung Wan, Peng Chau
(iv) Ta Kwu Ling, North

III. The Future

19.The work of the IWG is ongoing and it is constantly looking for new subjects to which it can turn its attention with a view to making improvements.

20.At its last meeting it was agreed to produce guidelines to assist the staff of District Lands Offices and others with the clearance of illegal dumping of a wide range of chemical waste materials. Although such cases are rare it is considered that such guidelines would improve the safety and efficiency in dealing with such future occurrences.

21.The IWG welcomes ideas feed-back and suggestions from all sources.


Task Force (Black Spots)
Lands Department
March 1999


 

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