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Parents urged to teach children not to foul pool water

The Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) has urged parents to teach their children to use the toilets before swimming and not to defecate or urinate in public swimming pools.

The appeal was prompted by a report that a swimmer at Tin Shui Wai Swimming Pool saw an eight—year-old boy defecating at the leisure pool and training pool shortly before 8am this morning (July 30).

The management of the pool has immediately contacted and reminded the parent of the child to educate their child not to defecate or urinate at the pools.

Meanwhile, the case has been dealt with quickly in accordance with established guidelines. The staff immediately evacuated and temporarily closed the affected pools to remove the contaminants.

The residual chlorine level of pool water was then raised to 2ppm for an hour to disinfect the pools.

Pool staff also kept other swimmers well-informed of the incidents and follow-up measures by the department via public announcements and display of notices at the pool complex.

The two pools reopened to swimmers at 10.30am.

An LCSD spokesman pointed out that swimming pools were public facilities and usage rates were heavy on weekends and public holidays. Swimmers should strictly observe the rules so they can all enjoy a clean swimming environment.

“Once contaminated by faeces or vomitus, the swimming pool has to be closed for cleansing and disinfection according to established procedures, and ultimately the general public are the ones to suffer,” the spokesman said.

The Public Swimming Pools Regulation of Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance (Cap 132) stipulates that it is an offence to pollute the water in public swimming pools. An offender will be liable to a maximum penalty of $2,000 and 14 days' imprisonment.

The LCSD has also stepped up its publicity and education efforts via radio announcements and at swimming pool complexes as well as posters to urge people to follow the rules before swimming and not urinate, defecate or vomit in pool water.

Swimming Pool Ambassadors have been deployed at main entrances, changing rooms and the deck area of every swimming pool to promote the message of personal and public hygiene and explain to swimmers the rules of using swimming pools.

“One should not eat too much to avoid vomiting in water. Elderly and children should visit the toilets first before swimming,” the spokesman said.

“Parents and guardians should pay attention to the physical condition and needs of their children, and educate them not to urinate or defecate in pool water.”

He added that conspicuous notices had been displayed at all swimming pool complexes, giving directions to the toilets.

Surprise checks will be conducted at swimming pools and immediate enforcement action will be taken against anyone intentionally fouling pool water.

The spokesman urged swimmers who spotted any suspected faeces or who had evidence of pool water being polluted to notify the pool staff immediately and provide detailed information for the department to take prompt action.

“The provision of a clean and hygienic swimming pool hinges on the co-operation and civic-mindedness of the public,” he said.

Ends/Saturday, July 30, 2005
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