The government has defended its new skip certification scheme, claiming that reported poor quality licensed skips represent only a small sample of the 30 skips licensed under the scheme.
Hong Kong’s pilot skip scheme, launched seven years after a scathing report into mismanagement and safety issues of Hong Kong’s roadside skips, says that new designs are still “being finalised” for wider roll-out. The government today said it hopes to roll out the voluntary scheme “progressively” in the first quarter of 2022.
“While most of the certified skips are found properly maintained during our patrols to skip storage sites, fixtures on a few skips may be damaged during their routine operation. With feedback received during the trial period, we are now finalising the design of the fixtures for wider adoption under the Scheme,” says an Environmental Protection Department (EPD) spokesperson.
Transit Jam had alerted EPD to issues with the licensed skips last week – the department now says that one particular licensed skip found in a poor state of repair had been retrofitted during the trial period.
“We contacted the skip owner who immediately arranged rectification of the defective flashing light. The rectification has just been completed,” says a spokesperson.
Regarding the website, EPD says it plans return public access “in due course”. The website had previously been available to the public but scanning QR codes on licensed skips now diverts users to a holding page.
In 2013, the Audit Commission criticised the government for keeping no statistics on the use of roadside skips. An Audit Commission survey found “100% of the skips did not have clear markings indicating that the disposal of domestic, flammable, hazardous and chemical waste was not permitted, 99% were not covered with clean waterproof canvas, 98% were not provided with yellow flashing lights during the hours of darkness, and 39% were placed at ‘no-stopping’ restricted zones. Audit also noted that two locations had continuously been occupied by one to nine skips throughout the 38-day period.”