A Summary of Environmental Hygiene Services and Facilities Provided by
the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department

(A) Environmental Hygiene Services

(I) Public Cleansing & Hygiene Services

(a) We are committed to keeping public places clean through providing efficient and effective street sweeping and cleansing services. About 17,000 litter containers and 400 dog excreta collection bins are placed in public places for collection of street waste. Street washing is carried out by 66 street washing vehicles with washing frequency ranging from daily to fortnightly. Street sweeping is provided at least once daily, and more frequently in the busiest pedestrian areas.

(b) We have 317 refuse collection teams which collect over 6,000 tons of household waste a day from public housing estates and private residential developments and our 2,747 off-street/kerb-side refuse collection points.

(c) We provide 286 public toilets and 596 aqua privies (i.e. village-type dry toilets in remote areas where public sewerage system is not available). Cleansing services for the 286 public toilets have been contracted out to private contractors while the aqua privies are mainly cleansed by our cleansing staff. Cleansing frequency is determined by their daily usage rate. Full-time static cleaners are stationed during peak hours in 159 public toilets with high usage rate.

(d) Pest control work aims at the control and elimination of rodents, mosquitoes and other insect pests with public health significance. We carry out systematic surveys, trappings, poisoning and elimination of bleeding places to maintain a hygienic environment. Territory-wide publicity campaigns on anti-mosquitoes and rodents are launched several times a year.

(e) Our Health Inspectors conduct regular inspections to tackle sanitary nuisances. In 1999, we received over 5,700 complaints about refuse blackspots, some 5,800 complaints about dripping air-conditioners and over 6,100 complaints about water seepage. We respond to all complaints immediately upon receipt. After investigation, we will take necessary follow-up actions, including action under the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance, Cap 132, if appropriate, to require occupiers/owners concerned to rectify the nuisances.

(II) Licensing and Control of Food Businesses and Slaughterhouses

(f) We operate three licensing offices in Hong Kong, Kowloon and New Territories respectively to handle licence applications relating to food business. Currently there are some 16,660 licensed food premises. (Details at Annex I). On the control of food premises, they are inspected regularly by Health Inspectors, ranging from once a week to once every eight weeks, to ensure that all food premises meet and comply with all licensing conditions. Stringent law enforcement actions are taken against unlicensed and unhygienic premises. In 1999, 6,683 prosecutions were instituted against licensed food premises for various food and hygiene offences. We also effected 715 arrests and issued 6,291 summonses against unlicensed food businesses.

(g) We license three slaughterhouses, namely, the Sheung Shui Slaughterhouse, the Tsuen Wan Slaughterhouse and the Cheung Chau Slaughterhouse, which provide fresh meat supply in Hong Kong. Health Inspectors carry out meat inspection every day at the slaughterhouses to ensure that fresh meat supply is fit for human consumption. In 1999, about 2,268,000 pigs and 61,630 cattle were slaughtered in the territory.

(h) To tackle illegal slaughtering activities, the Department in conjunction with other Departments have made sustained efforts in intensified blitz operations. For the first five months in 2000, we conducted 35 raiding operations and seized 4,430 kg of animal carcasses.

(III) Public Market Services (including cooked food markets and centres)

(i) We manage 81 public markets and 25 free-standing cooked food centres with about 13,000 stall-operators. There are market management consultative committees set up for individual public markets with representatives from stall lessees, District Councils and the Department's market management staff etc to discuss regularly issues relating to market management, with a view to bringing about general improvement to the operation of the markets including their viability. We aim at maintaining a clean and hygienic environment in these markets. Cleansing work has been contracted out to private cleansing contractors.

(IV) Control of Hawker/Street Trading

(j) At present there are about 8,200 licensed hawkers plying their trade in fixed pitches, hawker permitted places and hawker bazaars and over 1,200 licensed itinerant hawkers. As the Licensing Authority, we inspect the operation of these licensed hawkers on a regular basis to ensure that they comply with licensing conditions and cause no obstruction.

(k) Illegal hawking activities and shop extension create environmental nuisances and cause obstructions. In addition to regular patrol, our Hawker Control staff also raid the black spots from time to time.

(V) Cremation and Related Services

(l) It is Government policy to promote cremation and to provide efficient yet dignified cremation service. At present, there are six crematoria with columbaria located at Cape Collinson, Diamond Hill, Kwai Chung, Fu Shan, Wo Hop Shek and Cheung Chau. We handle about 28,000 cremations a year.

(m) We have a replacement programme for old and timeworn cremators to ensure the provision of efficient and environmentally-friendly cremation facilities. The four existing cremators at Kwai Chung Crematorium will be replaced with new facilities in 2002.

(n) There are 11 public cemeteries. Coffin burials in cemeteries are not permanent: the human remains have to be exhumed after six years, which are then either cremated or reburied in an urn cemetery.

(o) Booking of cremation service is provided by the Department at two offices (jointly operated with the Departments of Health and Immigration) at the Wu Chung House and the Canton Road Government Offices. The Department of Health is responsible for the issue of cremation permits/cremation orders and the Immigration Department for death registration and the issue of death certificates.

(B) Environmental Facilities

A list of environmental hygiene facilities is at Annex II.