Pool cleaning ineffective

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 June, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 June, 1999, 12:00am

The public needs further comment from Paul K.K. Cheung regarding the Urban Services Department's (USD) policy on closing public pools from noon to 1.30pm daily (letter headlined, 'Pool closure essential to proper hygiene', South China Morning Post, May 11).

I swim every day and arrived early for two days last month to see the lunchtime cleaning being carried out by staff at the Victoria Park Swimming Pool.

Several staff members were swimming in the pool while members of the public waited outside for the 1.30pm opening.

This leisure time began shortly after 1pm, after they apparently had completed the 'thorough cleaning' process.

This process included brushing the bottom of the pool with long sweepers. Essentially, the dirt from one tile moved to another one.

If anything, this technique does more damage than good, as potentially harmful particles are agitated by the sweeping action and are sent back into circulation in the water.

Finally, why aren't the bathrooms and changing areas touched during this cleaning period? At Victoria Park, water from the floor of the bathroom is allowed to mix with water in a wading pool that swimmers are forced to walk through to get to the main pool. This area is redolent of urine, which is disgusting.

Mr Cheung, I have also failed to see more than 1,000 swimmers at any one point during the week at a public swimming pool, even during the peak season. Right now, I am confident that the morning session handles no more than 100 swimmers. Is it really worth closing the pool at noon to carry out a cleaning process that is ineffective to begin with? Does it really take 1.5 hours to push dirt from one tile to the next? If indeed the USD is trying to maintain our swimming pools to international standards, why then can't it adopt their cleaning methods? I've never heard of a public pool closing to the public during the middle of the day anywhere in the world.

KEN WALKER Causeway Bay