Government campaign to keep Hong Kong clean fails the smell test

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 August, 2015, 2:43pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 August, 2015, 5:30pm

Since the "Keep Clean 2015@Hong Kong: Our Home" campaign was launched on August 1, we have been subjected to one nauseating report after another of government ministers and district councillors rolling up their sleeves to clean up our city.

On August 14, it was the turn of Financial Services and Treasury Secretary Professor Chan Ka-keung, purportedly cleaning up Tai Po Market while sporting an immaculate white T-shirt and ensuring that he never actually came into contact with any dirty surface.

He then handed out cleaning packs. We are not told what products were in these packs, but going by previous campaigns, they probably consisted of a number of plastic bottles in a plastic bag. Were the containers biodegradable and the products eco-friendly? Highly unlikely. More likely, we are looking at more unnecessary landfill fodder.

The question canny voters ask is: how come we still have so many hygiene black spots when these councillors are being paid to monitor the services?

This taxpayer would also be interested to know who the manufacturers were, probably one of the international conglomerates responsible for the unacceptably high level of toxins entering our water sources.

And how much is this distribution of unsolicited products costing us?

The road show then jumped on a bus and drove around, adding more pollution to our already congested streets.

Of course, the man in the street is under no illusions; the campaign is in effect a government-driven and -funded programme to support government-friendly district councillors in the upcoming district council elections.

You know election season is approaching when our district councillors - having spent the past four years plotting how to deprive the community of open space and recreational grounds in order to concrete them over for their Signature Projects, or in supporting development plans that ensure that ordinary folk can no longer afford to live in the district - suddenly take to the streets and start whingeing about those mundane matters that they were elected to oversee during their tenure.

The question canny voters ask is: how come we still have so many hygiene black spots when these councillors are being paid to monitor the services provided to the community by government departments?

From January next year, remuneration for district council members will rise to HK$29,620 per month, double the average monthly salary. Voters should not be seduced by any sudden display of interest in community affairs and choose representatives who have a genuine desire to serve.

Candy Tam, Wan Chai