Hong Kong Private Sector Committee on the Environment (PSCE) Cracks Floating Refuse Problem

November 5, 1999

A new type of floating refuse collection vessel, the TRASHCAT™, began a six-month trial in Hong Kong waters today. The project has been organized by the Private Sector Committee on the Environment (PSCE) in an effort to find a better way to remove the tonnes of rubbish which clog the harbour every day.

Outlining the reasons for instigating the trial, Mr. Edwin Lau, Chairman of the PSCE said, “We aim to demonstrate an alternative approach for the collection of floating refuse.”

The PSCE hopes that the TRASHCAT™ will boost the amount of floating refuse collected daily. Currently some 30 tonnes of refuse is picked up each day by the fleet of more than 60 refuse collection vessels managed by the Marine Department.

At a ceremony to launch the TRASHCAT™ trial, Mr. Gordon Siu, Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands said, “I am delighted to see the Private Sector Committee on the Environment putting the idea of partnership to improve the environment into practice with this new trash skimmer project to help clean up the harbour.”

To date the TRASHCAT™ has operated successfully in the US, Korea, France and Brazil. Its Hong Kong trial will be monitored by the PSCE and the Marine Department. If successful, the PSCE will work to encourage the introduction of this type of vessel to Hong Kong.

Mr. David Eldon, Chairman of The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited, the major sponsor of the trial, said, “This trial is a welcome step forward in the effort to clean up Hong Kong’s harbour and it is a welcome reminder that we can’t afford to let our environment deteriorate any further.”

During the trial the TRASHCAT™, built by United Marine International of the USA , will be operated by Hong Kong Salvage & Towing Co., Ltd. Only one operator at a time is required to run the vessel, and training for the local crew has been provided by the manufacturer.

The TRASHCAT™ trial is sponsored by The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited with HK$500,000 and Elec & Eltek International Holdings Limited, the Swire Group and Wheelock and Company Limited have each contributed HK$250,000. Gammon Construction Limited is providing a crane to transfer refuse from the TRASHCAT™ to the shore collection point.

Secretary Siu’s Speech

Source – Private Sector Committee on the Environment (PSCE) Hong Kong