Garbage collection system crippled by outsized debris

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 03 August, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 03 August, 2005, 12:00am

Underground pipes used to deliver household garbage to a central collection point at a public housing estate have been sealed indefinitely after being punctured by large pieces of debris, including an electric drill.

The damage to the stainless-steel chutes at Shek Yam East Estate in Kwai Chung was discovered during an inspection after residents complained of a foul smell.

'There were things you couldn't imagine - we found a chopping board, a mop stick and an electric drill' in pipes meant for domestic garbage, said Housing Department assistant director Bay Wong.

The automatic refuse collection system has been installed in 12 estates since being introduced in 1996.

Cleaners throw garbage they have collected on each floor through a trap door into a chute which runs from the top to the bottom of the building then underground to a central collection station.

The garbage is compressed before being taken away in trucks. Mr Wong said the department would not punish the contracted cleaners for throwing large pieces of garbage into the chute.

Since the underground chute stopped being used last Friday, cleaners have been collecting the garbage from the chutes at ground level and taking it in sealed containers to the collection station.

This is almost identical to the method that will be used on a refuse handling system that will be first introduced on Mei Tin Estate in Sha Tin by the end of the year.