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Advisory Council on the Environment

Amendment to the Dumping at Sea Ordinance

ACE Paper (40/99)
For information

Purpose

This paper seeks Members' advice on the proposal to amend the Dumping at Sea Ordinance (DASO), Cap. 466, to define the types of reclamation which should be subject to permit control.

Background

2.The DASO controls the dumping of substances and articles from vessels, aircrafts, and marine structures in the sea and under the sea-bed and the related loading operations, in accordance with the spirit of the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter (the London Convention). The Convention has been extended to Hong Kong by the Central Government after the return of sovereignty in 1997.

3.At present, any person who intends to carry out marine dumping and/or related loading operations as specified in subsection 8(1) of the DASO has to obtain a permit from the Director of Environmental Protection (DEP) before commencing the dumping and/or loading operation, unless the dumping and/or loading operation belongs to any of the following:

  1. operations specified in the Dumping at Sea Ordinance (Exemption) Notice 1995 made by the Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands (SPEL) under section 11 of the DASO (Annex I); or
     
  2. operations for a reclamation authorized under the Foreshore and Sea-bed (Reclamations) Ordinance (FSRO), Cap. 127, as specified in subsection 8(2) of the DASO.

4.As the primary objective of the DASO is to prevent and control dumping activities that deliberately pollute the sea and the sea-bed, operations that do not require a permit under section 11 of the DASO are those that involve the disposal of substances or materials in relation to the normal operation of vessels, aircrafts and marine structures or for well-intended purposes, such as the laying of submarine cable, the deployment of dispersants or other materials for treating oil spill or fighting fire, or the carrying out of scientific research. Similarly, since the objective of reclamation works in its conventional sense is to form land from sea rather than the disposal of waste into the sea or on the sea-bed, subsection 8(2) of the DASO therefore exempts reclamation authorized under the FSRO from the permit requirement.

Problem

5."Reclamation" as defined under section 2 of the FSRO includes "any work over and upon any foreshore and sea-bed". This includes both land formation works and dredging/dumping works. Indeed a substantial number of "reclamation" works authorized under the FSRO are related to dumping rather than land formation activities. Since our intention is to exempt only land formation works from the permit requirement, the present section 8(2) of the DASO needs to be amended to reflect this intention.

6.Some reclamation works related to the construction of roads are authorized under subsection 17(1)(b) of the Roads (Works, Use and Compensation) Ordinance (RWUCO). Unlike reclamation works authorized under the FSRO, they are at present not exempted under the DASO. Opportunity is taken to include the appropriate types of reclamation works authorized under the RWUCO as exempted operations under the DASO.

Proposal

7.It is proposed that subsection 8(2) of the DASO be repealed and an Order be issued by SPEL under section 11 of the DASO to exempt, as far as "reclamation" authorized under FSRO and RWUCO is concerned, operations specific to land formation and road works only.

Legislative Timetable

8.The Dumping at Sea (Amendment) Bill to repeal section 8(2) is being prepared. Our intention is to submit this to LegCo in November 1999. Once the legislative amendment is completed, an Order will be issued by SPEL under section 11 of the DASO to specify the types of "reclamation" works authorized under the FSRO or RWUCO that would be exempted under the DASO.

 

Planning, Environment and Lands Bureau
September 1999

 

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