Source: Hong Kong Government special administrative region
A spokesman for the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) said today (November 18) that the FEHD has been adopting a multi-pronged approach to enhance the facilities and services of more than 800 public toilets (PTs) under its management, and is committed to improving the overall hygiene condition of PTs through promotion of public education and stepping up performance monitoring and contract supervision. In addition, the PTs at Southorn Centre in Wan Chai and at the Peak Tower are expected to be reopened for public use before the end of the year after refurbishment. The Chief Executive has announced in the Policy Agenda in 2018 that comprehensive refurbishment works will be carried out for FEHD PTs with high utilisation rate or located at tourist hotspots. Among the 23 PTs near tourist hotspots, the FEHD will have completed the facelifting or refurbishment works for 22 of them by the end of this year. The Financial Secretary has also announced in the 2019-20 Budget that more resources would be allocated to the FEHD for refurbishing its PTs in phases, with an estimated expenditure of over $600 million involving about 240 PTs. Facelifting or refurbishment works of 91 PTs have progressively commenced in the first two financial years, and 17 of them have been completed and reopened by now. New facilities such as sensor-type flushing devices, sensor-type taps and soap dispensers will be installed at refurbished or facelifted PTs while a one-stop provision of wash hand basin, soap dispenser and hand dryer in the form of a Cabinet Wash Hand Basin System has been put on trial in some PTs. Depending on the situation, technologies such as Nano Plasma Driven Catalysis Oxidation and Nano Confined Catalytic Oxidation technologies, ozone technology and microalgae green wall systems have also been introduced at selected PTs accordingly to remove unpleasant odours at PTs and improve air quality. The FEHD spokesman said, “In order to minimise the impact on users, improvement works of the toilets in different floors of the Pei Ho Street Market in Sham Shui Po have to be conducted in phases. Works for toilets on the first floor were completed in December 2019 and the toilets were reopened. For the toilets on the ground floor, improvement works are ongoing and expected to be completed in early 2021. This will then be followed by launching the improvement works for toilets on the second floor. In addition, we are willing to try out brand-new ways, such as considering the use of the Design for Manufacture and Assembly technique in the facelifting project of the Macau Ferry Bus Terminus PT in Central and Western District that has already been included in the 2020/21 Public Toilet Refurbishment Programme.” The spokesman added, “We have also spared no effort in improving the attendant room facilities for PTs with toilet attendants. For example, due to space constraints in the Moreton Terrace PT in Wan Chai, we have explored the practicability to set up attendant rooms for its toilet attendants in its adjoining area, and relevant works are expected to be completed in the first half of next year if all goes well. Apart from following up the provision of attendant rooms during improvement works, we are also striving to upgrade facilities in existing PTs. So far, we have provided tables, chairs and storage facilities for attendant rooms of around 200 PTs, and have been proactively following up on the provision of installations such as power sockets, ventilation (such as fresh air, exhaust fans, oscillating fans) and lighting etc. (related works have already been completed for attendant rooms of about 60 PTs).” Apart from routine cleansing services, the FEHD has since March 2019 set up dedicated deep cleansing teams to provide thorough cleansing services so as to enhance the cleanliness of PTs and relieve the workload of toilet attendants. Furthermore, after upgrading the Complaint Management Information System, the FEHD could strengthen the monitoring and analysis of complaints against PTs, and improve PT services in accordance with operational needs. In addition, the FEHD would make repair requests to works departments via the minor works order record system mobile app and monitor the progress with a view to speeding up the repair process. To effectively optimise the use of resources and improve the service quality of PTs, the FEHD is developing a prototype of a smart PT system to collect statistics including usage rates, smell, temperature and humidity through real-time monitoring system, and to collect users’ views on PT services via the visitor feedback mechanism. The system is expected to be launched for trial in the Southorn Centre PT in Wan Chai and the Tsim Sha Tsui East Public Transport Interchange Public Toilet in Tsim Sha Tsui in the second quarter of next year. To combat the epidemic situation of COVID-19, the FEHD has implemented effective anti-epidemic measures at its PTs, including enhancing disinfection and cleansing services, as well as installing in phases sensor-type hand sanitisers and sensor-type toilet seat sanitisers. Anti-microbial coating is also piloted at PTs with high patronage rate where coating will be applied to door knobs and handrails of toilets, surfaces of toilet seats and hand-dryers to maintain the hygiene condition of PTs. The FEHD will also continue to step up public education to remind the public to maintain civic-mindedness when using PTs. Health education promotional booths will be set up at selected PTs to promote the messages of keeping toilets clean and using toilet facilities properly. In addition, to improve the design and services of local toilets, the FEHD and the Architectural Services Department have co-organised a public toilet design competition and design thinking workshops to brainstorm innovative ideas on services, design and management of PTs with a view to constructing contemporary and modernised PTs.