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June
SHA visits Sham Shui Po Park Swimming Pool
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The Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) has been active in the introduction of measures to improve the hygiene and cleanliness of its swimming pools.

The above remark was made by the Secretary for Home Affairs, Dr Patrick Ho, after a visit to Sham Shui Po Park Swimming Pool this afternoon (June 1). He was accompanied by the Director of Leisure and Cultural Services, Ms Anissa Wong.

Dr Ho also noted that communication with the public over the hygiene of the public swimming pools would be strengthened.

Starting tonight, water quality reports will be displayed at all individual swimming pools to inform swimmers about the latest water conditions.

For added convenience, the reports will also be uploaded to the LCSD website.

In mid-June, the LCSD will begin a four-month survey at its swimming pools to collect users' ratings of the hygiene and cleanliness of the pools.

A hotline will also be set up in the middle of this month where people can offer suggestions at any time on how to improve the hygiene of swimming pools.

"The department has always valued swimmers' views regarding the hygiene and cleanliness of pools.

"Hopefully, by implementing these measures, we will have a better understanding of swimmers' views and concerns which will help us determine what further actions should be taken to upgrade the level of hygiene and cleanliness."

During today's visit, Ms Wong briefed Dr Ho on the measures already taken to enhance the management and cleanliness of the public swimming pools.

They are:

* a thorough weekly clean-up programme launched at every public swimming pool last September under which each pool complex takes a turn to close for half a day every week for cleaning work.

* increasing the frequency of tests on total bacteria counts, free residual chlorine levels, pH values and turbidity of pool water to once a week.

* stepping up publicity and public education to urge swimming pool users to help keep the pools clean.

* carrying out comprehensive joint inspections of all public swimming pools and their peripheral areas and formulating guidelines to strengthen day-to-day cleaning and inspection work to prevent possible breeding grounds for insects.

* providing swimming pool frontline staff with a series of training and refresher courses to enrich their knowledge of environmental hygiene, water sampling techniques and operation of filtration systems.

In addition, an inter-departmental steering committee on the management of public swimming pools was set up in November last year, comprising two experts, the Head of the Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine at the University of Hong Kong, Professor Yuen Kwok-ying, and Council Member of the Hong Kong Institute of Engineers, Mr Victor Cheung Chi-kong, as well as representatives from the Department of Health, Electrical and Mechanical Services Department, Architectural Services Department, Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, and Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department.

The committee has dedicated its efforts to water quality monitoring, environmental hygiene and cleanliness, usage of public swimming pools and staff training and venue management.

Dr Ho said the current water quality monitoring system, including the stepped-up water testing, and the nightly superchlorination of pool water ensured a clean and hygienic environment for swimmers.

Ends/Wednesday, June 1, 2005
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