Officials to say it with flowers for the elderly and needy at New Year

PUBLISHED : Monday, 25 November, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 25 November, 2002, 12:00am

Leftover fresh flowers and plants from Lunar New Year will be distributed to the elderly and needy for the first time next year.

Instead of being destroyed, the blooms will be sent to elderly homes and other charitable organisations that register with the government.

Deputy Director of Food and Environmental Hygiene Cheuk Wing-hing said 40 volunteers from the department would deliver unsold plants to about 150 homes.

Mr Cheuk said the department would ask 180 stall owners from its 14 Lunar New Year fairs to keep their unsold plants.

They would be given out on a first-come-first-serve basis.

The department will obtain a list of elderly homes and welfare organisations from the Social Welfare Department.

Mr Cheuk estimated about 300 pots plants such as mandarins and peony would be delivered between 8am and noon on Lunar New Year's Day.

Vendors usually destroy most of their stocks before packing up their stalls. It is estimated nearly 3,000 plants are destroyed each year.

'The plants are fresh and beautiful and it is a waste to destroy them. They should be sent to the aged and the poor to let them share our happiness,' he said. The move also would be environmentally friendly.

'Bear in mind that the vendors usually destroy the plants by breaking the pots and wrecking the flowers, which scatter all over the place. This year our workers will spend less time cleaning up,' he said.

About 110 tonnes of garbage is collected from the Victoria Park fair alone every year.