The government is planning a new citywide clean-up campaign, similar to the 2003 Team Clean initiative launched after the Sars pandemic a decade ago, Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor says.
The campaign, which is expected to be launched by May, comes amid looming fears over a new Sars-like virus that emerged in the Middle East last year. It is responsible for killing at least six people so far.
"After the launch of the policy address and the budget, maybe it is time for [officials] to do something together," Lam told members of the press yesterday. A government source told the South China Morning Post: "It is time to raise people's awareness about personal and public hygiene."
Yesterday, Lam suggested that the new clean-up initiative would take an approach similar to the round of district visits that the city's officials made in July last year.
Then, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and ministers visited the city's 18 districts over three weekends.
The chief secretary said she remembered Hong Kong people coming together to clean up the city under the Team Clean initiative in the aftermath of the severe acute respiratory syndrome outbreak that killed 299 people here 10 years ago.
The campaign, headed by then chief secretary Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, set out to tackle the problems of town planning and public hygiene, promote civic consciousness to keep the city clean, and establish a long-term structure to improve the environment.
Fines for offences such as littering and spitting were raised from HK$600 to HK$1,500.
More than 200 district hygiene squads of 4,000 volunteers patrolled their communities and took part in monthly cleaning activities.
Closed-circuit television cameras were also installed at lanes across the city to monitor the hygiene situation.
Lam said she hoped that Hong Kong would be as united and harmonious as it had been during that difficult time.