Following is a question by the Hon Albert Chan and a written reply by the Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works, Dr Sarah Liao, at the Legislative Council meeting today (December 1) :
It has been reported that due to lax control by the Government, construction waste has been dumped on the Tung Wan Beach on Peng Chau. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(a) of the measures in place to prevent more beaches becoming dumping grounds for construction waste; and
(b) whether it has any measures to restore the beaches which have been used as dumping grounds for construction waste, such as the Tung Wan Beach on Peng Chau; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
The case at Tung Wan, Peng Chau involves construction waste suspected to have been produced by local development projects in the 1990s having been illegally dumped near the shoreline of Tung Wan. In 1999-2002, the waste stockpiled at the northern part of Tung Wan at that time was cleared by the Government during the construction of the emergency vehicular access and the promenade at Tung Wan.
(a) The penalties for illegal disposal of waste are stipulated in the existing Waste Disposal Ordinance (Cap. 354) and the Waste Disposal (Amendment) Ordinance 2004 which will come into effect next summer. A person commits an offence if he deposits waste in any place except with lawful authority or excuse, or except with the permission of any owner of the place, and is liable to a fine of $200,000 and imprisonment for 6 months on the first occasion on which he is convicted of the offence and to a fine of $500,000 and imprisonment for 6 months on each subsequent occasion.
To prevent attempts by offenders to evade responsibility, the Amendment Ordinance includes provisions that strengthen control over illegal disposal of waste. For example, it empowers the court to order the person convicted of illegal disposal of waste to remove the waste on Government land. In cases where the removal work has already been carried out by the Government, the court may order the convicted person to pay all or part of the removal cost incurred by the Government as appropriate.
Under certain circumstances, the Lands Department may put up fences, cement blocks or other barriers as appropriate around Government land to prevent unlawful depositing of waste. Other departments, including the Environmental Protection Department, Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, Housing Department, Marine Department and Hong Kong Police Force, will step up patrol and enforcement action against unlawful depositing of waste. Under the Fixed Penalty (Public Cleanliness Offences) Ordinance, they may also give a fixed penalty notice to a person who has committed a minor offence of unlawful depositing of waste in an effort to curb such activities.
(b) Regarding the case concerning Tung Wan, Peng Chau, the relevant departments will continue to co-ordinate their efforts and clear as much construction waste found recently on the beach as practicable. Other beaches will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
Ends/Wednesday, December 1, 2004