Officials fan out across the city for cleanup day
Ng Yuk-hang, Austin Chiu and Tiffany Lam
Senior officials were out in force yesterday for 'Clean Hong Kong Day' after the government claimed initial victory in the battle against swine flu.
Chief Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen inspected Pei Ho Market in Sham Shui Po and handed out hygiene packs containing masks, a towel, hand gel and wet tissues.
Mr Tang then looked on as workers scrubbed the floor.
It was a far cry from when Donald Tsang Yam-kuen was chief secretary in 2003 and was in charge of a cleanup during the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome. Mr Tsang, wearing a mask, rolled up his sleeves to distribute bottles of bleach to people on the street.
After the inspection, Mr Tang said: 'Though we have just overcome the first hit by the human-swine influenza, our efforts must not slacken. 'Clean Hong Kong Day' is only the beginning. The continued participation by the public is the key to preventing a pandemic.'
On Friday Hong Kong claimed initial victory in the battle against swine flu as the last of 350 people were released from quarantine.
A shopper, Mrs Lau, said the market was cleaner after Mr Tang's visit and she hoped it would stay that way when there were no government officials around.
There were more than 80 events during yesterday's cleanup.
Labour and Welfare Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung and about 40 volunteers distributed gift sets of disinfectant to residents at Upper Ngau Tau Kok Estate. Mr Cheung demonstrated how to wear a face mask and clean hands throughly with an alcohol gel.
Home affairs chief Tsang Tak-sing, clad in sweatpants and T-shirt, took a hands-on approach to promote the message of cleanliness, which included sweeping and mopping the floor of a building in Mong Kok. Accompanied by district councillors, Mr Tsang also wiped the rooftop of a shack clean of dirt left over from nearby construction work.
Asked why he did not go to clean up the worst black spots in the district, Mr Tsang said: 'We shall co-operate with district councillors and will pay attention to those areas.'
Despite Mr Tsang's efforts, some back alleys in Mong Kok were still piled with rubbish and food leftovers.
Secretary for Development Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor cleaned gym equipment and benches on the Tsing Yi promenade, and gave out hygiene packs to shoppers in a nearby mall.
Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Stephen Lam Sui-lung went to Yuen Long to attend seminars and talks on hygiene.
And Denise Yue Chung-yee, secretary for the civil service, was in Central and Western District to visit residents and inspect the cleanup there.
Democratic Party lawmaker Andrew Cheng Kar-foo said he hoped the government's extensive efforts would rub off on all levels of the administration, especially frontline staff of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department.
'Some back alleys are still very dirty and need to be disinfected more frequently,' he said.