Government criticised over pollution

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 02 December, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 02 December, 1993, 12:00am

THE Government was criticised yesterday for being negligent by allowing its landfill facilities to illegally dump sewage into Tolo Harbour.

Legislators alleged that some unlicensed facilities in the Shuen Wan Landfill had discharged leachate and nitrogen into Tolo Harbour.

Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands Tony Eason said in his reply to the Reverend Fung Chi-wood that about 60 per cent of the 380 Government facilities in water control zones had been licensed.

He said the remaining unlicensed facilities had applied to the Environmental Protection Department and he expected all licences to be issued in 1994.

United Democrat legislator Lee Wing-tat asked if the Government would prosecute itself over the existing unlicensed facilities.

''If it is discovered that the Planning, Environment and Lands Branch has been negligent and the landfill does leak sewage into the harbour, will the administration prosecute itself?'' Mr Lee asked.

He said routine monitoring of the water quality in Tolo Harbour did not identify particular problems with the Shuen Wan Landfill.

''There are effluents coming out of industrial premises which are far more serious in their effect than the small leakages of leachate at the Shuen Wan Landfill,'' he said.

''The question has to be asked - if the Government is spending time prosecuting itself, is this a proper use of the resources available when there are far more serious problems being caused by other polluters?'' Legislators were not satisfied with Mr Eason's answer.

Liberal Party legislator James Tien Pei-chun asked: ''Does that mean in order to save taxpayers' money from suing one Government department against the other?'' United Democrat legislator Albert Chan Wai-yip said the Government was unfair to the public when it failed to observe the restrictions stipulated in the Water Pollution Control Ordinance.