Stop The Mess – A – Report

Stop the Mess! Campaign

24th February 2010

Participants

Ms Rainy LI (FEHD – Health Inspector)

Mr H.S. CHAN (EPD – Assistant Environmental Protection Officer)

Mr K. L. CHOY (DLO/Is – Lands Executive)

Ms Virginia CHEUNG (LCSD – Assistant District Leisure Manager)

Ms Ivy CHAN (DO/Is – Liaison Officer)

Ms. Laura Ruggeri, Chair, Living Lamma

Mrs. Jo Wilson, Secretary, Living Lamma

Ms. Chris Lam, Communications, Living Lamma

Background

Living Lamma is a registered society (REF: CP/LIC/SO/19/40679) set up in May 2009. Our first campaign was to stop the destruction of natural habitat in the Yung Shue Long Valley. Sadly, this has so far been unsuccessful. Where we once could see a lily pond, dragonflies and bird life, there is now a huge pile of landfill.

Unfortunately, there are many other areas on Lamma where rubbish is being dumped. In November 2009, Living Lamma began the Stop the Mess! Campaign with the aim of tidying up Lamma and making it beautiful. Our first petition collected over 230 signatures and resulted in visits from two of our Legislative Councillors, Albert Ho and Albert Chan. Both agreed that the situation was bad and on their advice we have asked for this joint visit today.

The Problems

1. Dumping and Waste Management. This will be the focus of our visit today. There are numerous places on Lamma where rubbish is being dumped. In many cases, the rubbish has been left behind for many years. In monitoring this situation, it has become clear that many of the refuse collection points are no longer fit for use. People tend to dump their rubbish outside these areas, while the bins inside remain empty. It is also clear that without proper landscaping, many areas that might be cleaned up will just be dumped on again. Government has fenced of some areas to prevent dumping, but the fencing and signage is so ugly that this just adds to the general degradation of Lamma’s environment.

2. Shoddiness in work carried out, particularly in the disposal of waste. Contractors use multiple ‘temporary storage’ sites, which often contain waste; old water pipes are left behind when new ones are laid; there are telephone posts left to rust where new ones have been put in and excess building materials are often just left behind.

3. Lack of maintenance – particularly of the railings, which are allowed to rust to the point where they fall over and then are just left. Public / government buildings, such as the ferry pier and the Water Department building could look much better if they were maintained properly.

4. Trees. There seems to be an increasing number of notices to fell trees, but no evidence of on-going maintenance or replanting. This

5. Design. There seems to be no concept of rural design. Development on Lamma is not sensitive to preserving the look and feel of the village. There is an alarming trend towards pouring concrete and erecting ugly fencing. Projects that have a significant visual impact, such as the new police station and the sitting out area, are not adequately described at the consultation stage. Many so-called improvements, such as the Drainage Services nullah and the fence around the Banyan tree near the police post, just make the village look more ugly and have themselves created problems. The nullah back up stinking water and refuse into the Yung Shue Long Valley and the fence around the Banyan tree has become Lamma’s biggest rubbish bin.

We appreciate your visit today. We would like to work with you to make Lamma beautiful through:

1. Cleaning up rubbish black spots

2. Improving waste management – construction and household waste

3. Redesigning the refuse collection points and bin areas

4. Landscaping areas to deter dumping

5. Establishing a tree warden, or mechanism to maintain and plant trees

6. Redesign certain areas to make Yung Shue Wan more attractive, provide more places for people to sit; improve facilities for children; put in more landscaped areas; take out unnecessary fencing; and provide shade.

The visit today will take in Yung Shue Wan Main Street, the Yung Shue Long Valley, Sha Po, Tai Yuen and Wang Long villages. Photographs have been attached in Appendix I. The same problems exist in other villages and we are so far also monitoring Tai Peng Village, Tai Peng New Village, Tai Wan, Tai Wan To, Hung Shing Ye and Pak Kok. We have attached some photos of these areas for discussion today (see Appendix II).

We have also included, as examples, some designs for improvements to Yung Shue Wan, including the welcome wall at the ferry pier, the drainage outlet to the nullah, and community gardens on the harbourfront. These are intended to promote discussion on how we can make beautiful areas for public use on Lamma. See Appendix III.

Waste Management on Lamma Island

There are many people on Lamma who would like to know more about what happens to their waste and what they can do to more effectively dispose of certain items.

Living Lamma would like to promote responsible waste disposal and would like guidance from government departments on this.

TYPE OF WASTE METHOD OF DISPOSAL
1. Food waste Is there any programme to promote household composting like the Bokashi system in Japan? Can we start this? Which department(s) would be involved?
2. Garden waste We notice that felled trees are often removed by ‘vv’. Are these taken to the transfer station? What happens to them? Has Lamma got any system for shredding and composting this waste? Can we start one?
3. Unwanted electrical items Is there a collection centre for this at the transfer station? What happens to these items once they are taken off Lamma?
4. Construction waste There are a number of places on Lamma where this is dumped now. The waste is often reused in the construction of new houses. Is there a designated area for this waste? Can there be better management of it to deter dumping?
5. Old furniture Is there a recycling area at the transfer station? Is there a way to sort out reusable items from rubbish? What happens to this waste?
6. Old clothes and shoes We notice there is one recycling bin on Lamma. What happens to this waste? Could there be more bins, perhaps as part of a redesign of the refuse collection points?
7. Recyclable material: plastic, metal, paper What happens to this when it leaves Lamma? We notice that there is no colour coding of bags and many of our members are concerned that the recycling is just put together with the ordinary trash.
8. Batteries What is the best way to dispose of these? Is there any battery recycling available?
9. Prohibited items Are there any items that should not be put in the bins? What are these and how should people dispose of them?
10. Heavy/bulky items Some items are too heavy or bulky for individuals to move by themselves. Is there any system in place to help people, particularly the elderly or disabled, get rid of unwanted items?
11. Sewage Lamma houses all have septic tanks, but many residents do not know how these should be properly managed and maintained. When they are emptied, what happens to the contents?

Though the DSD is currently laying pipes in some areas to put in a sewage system, this has not been properly explained to residents. Details about how long it is going to take and how much it is going to cost each household should be made clear. What will happen to existing septic tanks? We would also like to understand how the sewage is going to be treated before it is pumped into the sea.

One of the initiatives that Living Lamma would like to undertake is to help individuals move rubbish from areas of private land. If we were to do this, would the transfer station accept the rubbish that we collect without charge? As our society is run on a voluntary basis with very little funds available to us, we want to ensure that should we help to clear up an area, that we would not be liable for costs that we could not meet.