Progress of cleaning up palm stearin

Hong Kong (HKSAR) -      The Under Secretary for the Environment, Mr Tse Chin-wan, visited the Upper Cheung Sha Beach on Lantau this afternoon (August 9) to observe the latest progress of cleaning up of palm stearin, with the accompany of the staff from the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD).
     According to the findings of the inspections conducted by government departments today from land, sea and air, the amount of palm stearin floating in Hong Kong waters and found on some beaches was much less than before and no more large-size palm stearin was found. In addition, the oil content of water samples collected from beaches concerned also remained at a low level, indicated that the situation had been basically under control.
     Mr Tse said that the situation had been much improved as only sporadic pieces of palm stearin were observed in Hong Kong waters. Nonetheless, some amount of palm stearin was still found on a number of beaches in certain places such as Lamma Island after cleanup operations were conducted.

In view of this, the LCSD and the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) would expedite their cleanup efforts. The Government will also closely monitor the situation of those temporarily closed bathing beaches and will strive for re-opening them in batches as soon as possible in the coming few days for public enjoyment.
     On the other hand, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) did not find any mariculturist being affected by the incident so far, and will continue to monitor the impact on the fishing industry and the marine environment, especially that of waters with important ecological value such as marine parks.
     Currently, the Marine Department, the LCSD, the FEHD, the AFCD and the Environmental Protection Department deployed around 300 staff members in total for conducting inspections and cleanup on a daily basis to tackle with this palm stearin leakage incident. As at 12 noon today, the government departments collected some 130 tonnes (130 000 kilograms) of palm stearin recovered on the sea surface and at the beaches, of which around half of it was scavenged from sea.

Published on: 2017-08-09

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