Rubbish mounts up as Hongkongers and tourists flock to Cheung Chau over Easter holiday

Shopkeepers report increased business but motel operators complain that most people do not stay overnight

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 April, 2017, 4:19pm
UPDATED : Monday, 17 April, 2017, 9:41pm

Locals and tourists alike descended on the outlying island of Cheung Chau to bathe in sunshine on the last day of the Easter break.

But the tourist influx had a decidedly bad side, with the island’s popular street snack culture generating so much rubbish that street sweepers complained it was “impossible” to do their job.

Unlike on previous occasions when long queues formed, ferry services between Central and Cheung Chau ran frequently enough to accommodate the passenger surge, with an average waiting time of 10 to 15 minutes.

High and dry? Cheung Chau residents demand added ferry services for morning peak hours

Staff at Cheung Chau ferry pier said the number of passengers was “more or less” the same over the Easter holiday. But they could not provide exact numbers.

Despite the packed streets, rental bicycles were still much sought after by those wanting to take in the scenic promenade.

At HK$30 an hour, Siu Kee bicycle shop said all but four of their bicycles were taken.

“Business is up by around 30 per cent,” a shopkeeper said.

Cheung Chau an island divided as visitors equal resident population over holiday

There were also losers. Motels hawking for business near the ferry pier said bookings had not gone up as most visitors stayed only for the day.

Street cleaners were among those who suffered most as the amount of rubbish generated from snack shops filled up bins so quickly that it was “impossible” to clean them in time.

“Look at all these bags of rubbish,” a street cleaner said as she pointed to around a dozen full bags on a trolley.

“We collected this only in the past hour,” another added, although both wished not to be named.

Residents admitted the visitor surge had pushed up prices in the past few years.

“But I still welcome visitors as they bring economic benefits and ensure employment,” 20-year Cheung Chau resident Mrs Cheung said.

“As long as everyone is happy and healthy I don’t mind a little inconvenience.”