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LCSD strives to provide clean beaches for bathers

The following is a statement issued by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) regarding the recent discovery of large quantities of floating refuse in some gazetted beaches in the Southern and Islands Districts:

Under the influence of the southern west monsoon in late-June, the floating refuse collected from some beaches in the Southern and Islands Districts, including Repulse Bay Beach, Deep Water Bay Beach, Pui O Beach and Tong Fuk Beach, was more than usual.

For instance, an average of some 30 bags of refuse was collected daily in Repulse Bay Beach in late-June while a total of 250 bags were collected daily between July 1 and 13.

For Pui O Beach, the refuse collected daily increased from 40 bags to 300 bags on July 14.

The refuse collected included trigs, wood sticks, plastic bags, wrapping paper, empty cans and plastic bottles.

The LCSD has mobilised and redeployed extra manpower to clear the refuse at the affected beaches and in the swimming zones bordered by the shark prevention nets. The 75 cleansing staff members deployed to the beaches in the Southern District has increased to 96, whereas the number of staff at Pui O Beach in the Islands District has increased by 15.

The Department will deploy more staff and raise the frequency of cleansing operations whenever necessary.

Due to the changes of current and wind directions, the quantities of refuse collected in the affected beaches have dropped. The refuse collected from Repulse Bay Beach declined from its daily maximum of 500 bags to 47 bags yesterday (July 14).

At present, the affected beaches in the Southern and Islands Districts have resumed normal. It is obvious that no large quantities of refuse are spotted in the swimming zones.

Meanwhile, refuse discovered outside the area of the shark prevention nets has been removed by vessels deployed by the Marine Department. In the past few days, the Marine Department deployed eight additional vessels and two foreshore cleansing task force teams to beaches in the Southern and Islands Districts to collect floating refuse.

With a view to notifying bathers in case of any beaches not suitable for swimming, red flags will be hoisted, and notices and the like will be put up according to the LCSD’s established guidelines.

The LCSD will advise bathers not to swim in a beach if it has been rated as Grade 4 in a test indicating that the water quality grading issued by the Environmental Protection Department (EPD).

The water quality grading in the past two weeks showed that the beaches in the Southern and Islands Districts were rated as Good or Fair (Grade 1 or 2) that are suitable for swimming.

The LCSD will monitor the situation closely with the EPD should there be any changes of the water quality.

The LCSD will deploy the cleansing staff to clear up any refuse once found shortly in the swimming zones of any beaches to shorten the duration of the effect on the bathers and thus they can enjoy swimming and continue to use the beach facilities.

Ends/Friday, July 15, 2005
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