Public toilets at tourists spots(2017/03/22)(Written)

Public toilets at tourists spots(2017/03/22)(Written)

Following is a question by the Hon Yiu Si-wing and a written reply by the Secretary for Food and Health, Dr Ko Wing-man, in the Legislative Council today (March 22):

     I have recently received complaints from members of the public that the facilities of the public toilets at some tourist hotspots are dilapidated and the toilets are in poor hygiene conditions.  They consider that such situation will not only cause inconvenience to users but also give tourists a bad impression of Hong Kong, thereby tarnishing Hong Kong's image as an international tourist destination.  Regarding the public toilets at tourist hotspots with high usage, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) of the criteria adopted by the authorities for determining whether a public toilet is located at a tourist hotspot with high usage, together with the location and number of such toilets; if the information is not available, of the reasons for that;

(2) whether the authorities have set higher standards for the hygiene conditions and level of services of such public toilets, including increasing the frequency of cleansing work, stepping up inspections, expeditiously repairing damaged facilities; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

(3) whether the authorities have reviewed and improved the aesthetic appeal and facilities of such public toilets in the past three years; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?



     The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) manages 789 public toilets.  There are also other public toilets in public venues (e.g. parks, country parks, etc.) within the respective purview of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department and the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department.

     My reply in respect of FEHD's purview to the question raised by the Hon Yiu Si‑wing is as follows:

(1) FEHD has not laid down criteria for defining whether certain public toilets are located within the areas of tourist hotspots.  Nevertheless, a list of public toilets under the purview of FEHD with high utilisation rate near widely recognised tourist spots is attached at Annex for information.

(2) The cleansing frequency of public toilets within the purview of FEHD depends on the public demand and usage of the toilets.  Public toilets are thoroughly cleansed two to three times a day in general.  Toilet attendants are deployed in frequently used public toilets (irrespective of whether they are located near tourist spots) to ensure that the toilets are clean and hygienic with toilet paper and liquid soap replenished as well as damages of facilities reported for speedy repairs.  In parallel, FEHD staff are deployed for daily inspection of the conditions of hygiene, cleanliness and facilities of public toilets.  Upon noticing minor damages or consumable items such as light bulbs or florescent tubes in need of replacement, the cleansing contractor will carry out minor repairs or replacement within 24 hours.  As for relatively more serious damages, FEHD staff will inform the Architectural Services Department (ArchSD) for follow-up actions as appropriate.

(3) FEHD and ArchSD have set up a working group (WG) which holds frequent discussions on how to optimise FEHD's public toilets to ensure that the design of public toilet facilities could blend well with the surrounding environment and keep up with the times, with a view to making the public toilet facilities hygienic, clean, safe and decent.  In planning new toilets and reprovisioning or refurbishing existing ones, FEHD will follow its established standards of provision.  The WG will decide on the exterior design, installations and equipment, as well as materials having regard to the actual circumstances of individual toilets.  For public toilets at tourist spots, FEHD will consider adopting thematic layouts, featured facades, multi-colour artistic designs and decorative lighting to make the toilets aesthetical and distinctive, providing good ventilation, making the best use of natural light in addition to artificial lighting, as well as utilising advanced facilities such as infra-red sensor-activated taps and flushing equipment.  Subject to site conditions and other circumstantial factors, FEHD will consider providing more pedestal type water closets to meet the needs of tourists.