Revellers clean up their act, but still throw out 159 tonnes

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 30 September, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 30 September, 2004, 12:00am

Mid-Autumn Festival rubbish levels drop, a sign anti-litter drive is working

Mid-Autumn revellers were cleaner and safer this year - but they still left behind 159 tonnes of rubbish and were given more than 3,800 warnings about wax-burning.

The garbage collected yesterday morning from beaches, parks and barbecue sites was a fifth less than last year and the number of verbal warnings issued to wax-burners was down about a third.

At Victoria Park, where the crowd at the Mid-Autumn Carnival peaked at 30,000 people, 11.3 tonnes of rubbish were left behind - 1.7 tonnes less than last year. And that was about one-tenth the amount in 2002, a sign perhaps of the effectiveness of the crackdown on littering and the threat of $1,500 fines.

More people will be prosecuted for wax-burning, however, with nine summonses being issued - four more than last year.

Offenders face a fine of up to $2,000 and two weeks in jail. Eleven cases of wax-burning injuries were reported.

The cleanup was faster this year, with workers swinging into action soon after midnight, aided by extra temporary staff. Collecting the mix of paper, aluminium cans, plastic bottles, lanterns, candles, mooncake boxes and food scraps took about three hours.

Early risers exercising in the park said they noticed less rubbish this year.

But Permanent Secretary for the Environment Keith Kwok Ka-keung said he was worried about the large amount of recyclable waste that had been thrown out. People needed to keep durable and usable items to avoid straining landfills, he said.

'We feel sad that many items, such as uncooked food, reusable forks and even aluminium cookers could be found this time. Actually many of these useful things could be recycled,' Mr Kwok said.

'I hope citizens realise that for each and every item they dispose of, it will end up at our landfill sites. We still have to deal with such disposal, and it costs money.'