An environment official assured the public yesterday that there had been no cover-up about a waste leak from a landfill and vowed to be open in handling questions about it.
Christine Loh Kung-wai, Acting Secretary for the Environment, said there had been only one instance so far of effluent leaking from the Ta Kwu Ling rubbish dump, as the Environmental Protection Department officers had reported on Wednesday.
And despite residents' fears, it was "not true" that there had been a similar leak at the Tuen Mun landfill.
Loh said officers who went to the Tuen Mun facility after receiving complaints found that the pollution was a mix of surface runoff and soil, not leachate, the toxic moisture that oozes from stacked rubbish.
It was the first time a political appointee from the Environment Bureau had responded to accusations that there had been a cover-up because the government had taken a month to disclose the Ta Kwu Ling leak.
Secretary for the Environment Wong Kam-sing is expected to resume work today after a holiday.
Loh said no health or ecological damage had resulted from the Ta Kwu Ling incident and promised the bureau would continue to take questions and inquiries about the site.
"We want to be, and I think we are being, open and transparent. Of course we welcome your continuing questions," she said.
The bureau would arrange a site visit for the Legislative Council environmental affairs panel tomorrow.