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LCQ 4: Illegal dumping of construction waste

Following is a question by the Hon Li Wah-ming for the Hon Albert Chan and an oral reply by the Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works, Dr Sarah Liao, in the Legislative Council meeting today (June 14):

Question:

Recently, I have received complaints from members of the public that, since the implementation of the construction waste disposal charging scheme on January 20 this year, illegal dumping of construction waste has taken place in many streets, rear lanes and agricultural lands.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a)  of the number of complaints received by the authorities each month about illegal dumping of construction waste since the implementation of the above scheme, the number of cases of illegal dumping of construction waste found during inspections, as well as the respective numbers of such complaints and cases in the same period last year;

(b)  of the number of prosecutions instituted in respect of the above illegal dumping cases, and the quantity of construction waste illegally dumped since the implementation of the scheme; and

(c)  whether there are measures to crack down on illegal dumping of construction waste; if so, of the details of the measures; if not, the reasons for that?

Reply:

Madam President,

(a)  Since the implementation of the construction waste disposal charging scheme on January 20, 2006 and up to May 31, 2006, the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) received 508 complaints on the flytipping of construction waste. In the same period last year, the EPD received 101 such complaints.  The monthly figures are as follows:

Number of complaints of flytipping of construction waste received by the EPD

2005                           2006                        
January 20                     January 20
to January 31    3             to January 31      11
February         16            February           41
March            18            March             148
April            35            April             124
May              29            May               184
Total:           101           Total:            508

In order to deter the illegal acts of flytipping of construction waste, the EPD would conduct regular inspections or ambush operations. During these inspections and ambush operations carried out between January 20 and May 31 this year, the EPD staff detected a total of 69 cases of flytipping of construction waste.  The figures for the respective months are as follows:

Cases of flytipping of construction waste detected by the EPD during inspections
January 2006              10
February 2006             3
March 2006                13
April 2006                16
May 2006                  27
Total:                    69

Before the implementation of the construction waste disposal charging scheme, the EPD did not classify the type of waste being flytipped. As a result, no comparable data could be provided for the same period in 2005.

(b)  During the same period, the Government initiated five prosecutions and issued four fixed penalty notices as a result of the enforcement actions taken.  The enforcement officers could only take prosecution action if they could collect sufficient evidence at the scene; including witnessing and proving the suspect has disposed of the waste at a public place or at a private place without authorization from the owner. The number of cases detected is therefore much higher than the number of prosecution cases or fixed penalty notices issued.

Since the implementation of the construction waste disposal charging scheme on January 20, 2006 and up to May 31, 2006, a total of some 3 000 tonnes of flytipped construction waste, an average of about 23 tonnes per day, were collected by various government departments while an average of about 21 000 tonnes per day of materials were disposed of at the EPD's landfills, construction waste sorting facilities and public fill banks of the Civil Engineering and Development Department.  The quantity of flytipped construction waste only accounts to 0.1% of the total quantity of construction waste handled by the Government.

(c)  Cracking down on flytipping of waste is one of the key enforcement roles of the EPD.  In this regard, the EPD regularly updates the intelligence on flytipping black spots and deploys manpower to patrol these black spots.  Apart from setting up a telephone hotline to encourage the public to report and gather information on flytipping cases, the EPD would also exchange intelligence with the Police, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) and other departments in order to act swiftly against any flytipping activities.

During the period from January 20 to May 31, 2006, the EPD carried out some 1 700 inspections and ambush operations at flytipping black spots and reported locations. As a result of these enforcement actions, four prosecutions were initiated and four fixed penalty notices issued, while the FEHD lodged one prosecution during the same period.

Of the 508 complaints received by the EPD regarding the flytipping of construction waste, the majority (483 cases) was related to flytipping of construction waste near buildings or on kerbside in the urban areas.  In 178 cases, the construction waste had been removed before the EPD staff arrived for inspection. The waste in these cases could probably be generated from renovation works nearby and considered as "temporary stock piling" rather than "illegal flytipping".  The data also indicated that there was no significant increase in the number of flytipping black spots on rural/agricultural land, nor a worsening trend.  Due to the above reasons, the EPD would take proactive measures and to step up enforcement against the flytipping of renovation waste in the urban areas.  The EPD has issued guidelines to the frontline staff reminding them to be on the alert for any renovation works being carried out in buildings, especially in the proximity of flytipping black spots during their daily field work and inspections. Should any renovation works be identified, the property owner, Incorporation of Owners (I/O) or property management office of the building/estate should be contacted and reminded to pay close attention to and keep records for the proper disposal of construction waste arising from these renovation works. The EPD staff would also make return visits to the same premises to ensure that the responsible party has disposed of their waste properly.

For new housing estates or buildings, the EPD staff would pro-actively approach the property management offices briefing them about the potential pollution problems arising from renovation works and the possible solutions/prevention methods, particularly the proper disposal of construction waste, and also providing them with the pollution control publicity materials produced by the EPD.

Ends/Wednesday, June 14, 2006


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