Monitoring stepped up after leak from landfill

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 February, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 February, 2009, 12:00am

Monitoring of rivers and waterways facing contamination threats from a Shenzhen landfill leak had been expanded, the environment secretary, Edward Yau Tang-wah, said yesterday.

The Environmental Protection Department has set up 10 water sampling and monitoring stations - five along the Shenzhen River, one at the Ng Tung River and four in the Deep Bay area. The leaked contaminants may have flowed into all these areas.

While no unusual change in the water quality had been found so far, the department has advised people in the area to stop using river and sea water.

The Mai Po reserve, managed by WWF Hong Kong, has stopped using water from Deep Bay to flush its ponds, although it has reported no evidence of pollution in the ponds and intertidal areas. But the group called for urgent measures to be taken by Hong Kong and Shenzhen to avoid further deterioration of the pollution level in Deep Bay, usually at its worst at this time of year.

The new monitoring sites have been added to three along the Puji River jointly set up with the Shenzhen authorities on Monday after an unknown quantity of mud and effluent from the Xiaping landfill flowed into the river. The Puji flows into the Shenzhen River, which runs into Deep Bay, where the Mai Po wetland reserve and some oyster farms are located.

The leak happened on Sunday afternoon.