Hong Kong – HAD appeals to property management sector to promptly apply for Anti-epidemic Support Scheme for Environmental Hygiene and Security Staff in Property Management Sector under Anti-epidemic Fund (with photo)

HAD appeals to property management sector to promptly apply for Anti-epidemic Support Scheme for Environmental Hygiene and Security Staff in Property Management Sector under Anti-epidemic Fund (with photo)

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     The Home Affairs Department (HAD) jointly organised again a briefing session via video conferencing with the Property Management Services Authority (PMSA) for over 300 participants, including representatives of the offices of Legislative Council members, the property management (PM) sector, owners’ corporations/organisations (OCs/OOs), and owners/tenants of premises within eligible building blocks on May 24. The HAD briefed them about the enhancement measures and the “Verification Form” of the Anti-epidemic Support Scheme for Environmental Hygiene and Security Staff in the Property Management Sector (ASPM) under the Anti-epidemic Fund (AEF), as well as appealed to the PM companies, Deed of Mutual Covenant Managers and OCs/OOs (hereinafter referred to as “eligible applicant organisations”) again to actively support the ASPM and submit applications as soon as possible.



     On February 28, the HAD launched the ASPM under the sixth round of the AEF, with the aim to provide each frontline PM worker performing duties relating to environmental hygiene or security in private residential, composite (i.e. commercial cum residential), industrial and commercial (including shopping malls) building blocks (hereinafter referred to as “eligible building blocks”) a monthly allowance of $2,000 for five months (February to June 2022). The HAD announced the enhancement measures of the ASPM on April 29, including: increasing the total quota of each eligible building block to not exceeding 200 (of which, 100 newly added quotas are for frontline cleansing and security staff engaged by premises within each eligible building block, as well as part-time/leave relief frontline cleansing/security workers of service contractors/subcontractors); as well as providing a maximum of $500 administrative fee to eligible applicant organisations for each frontline PM worker for whom they have successfully applied. The application period was also extended to May 31.



     The HAD expressed that a series of publicity work and appeals had been made since the launch of the enhancement measures, such that the PM sector could get to know those measures the soonest and submit applications. These included the issuance of a press release and social media post immediately on the date of announcement (April 29), and letters to various trade associations in the PM sector to make a strong appeal to the PM companies to submit applications for eligible frontline PM workers. The PMSA also notified eligible applicant organisations on the same day via email, as well as putting up advertisements on radio and newspapers, issuing press releases/blogs/social media posts etc. from time to time, in order to promote the enhancement measures under the ASPM. The HAD also jointly organised a briefing session via video conferencing with the PMSA on May 6 to explain the enhancement measures of the ASPM. To facilitate eligible applicant organisations in applying for the allowance under the ASPM for the frontline PM workers engaged by premises located therein, the HAD and the PMSA uploaded a “Verification Form” onto the PMSA’s website on May 11. The PMSA also sent the “Verification Form” to eligible applicant organisations via email on May 18.



     The HAD thanks the PM sector for actively responding and supporting the enhancement measures under the ASPM. As at May 24, the PMSA has received nearly 17 000 applications, which will benefit over 180 000 frontline PM workers, and over 2 500 applications have been approved, involving over $530 million, benefiting over 5 900 buildings.



     With one week before the end of application period of the ASPM, the HAD and the PMSA jointly organised an online briefing session again on May 24 to remind the trade the details of the aforementioned enhancement measures, application method, coverage of the “Verification Form”, and relevant services provided by the PMSA, including handling requests for assistance and related referral cases. For instance, if an individual eligible applicant organisation refuses to apply for frontline PM workers engaged by premises, the PMSA will proactively intervene to mediate. The PMSA also shared successful intervention cases, which benefited more PM workers.



     The HAD and the PMSA thanked over 300 PM sector representatives for joining the briefing session, and appealed strongly again to eligible applicant organisations to make good use of the last week before application closes, uphold corporate social responsibility and civic responsibility, following an inclusive and fair principle, and submit applications for all frontline PM workers serving eligible building blocks (including premises therein) to the PMSA promptly, so as to give recognition to their committed efforts during the pandemic.



     For details on the ASPM, please contact the PMSA at 3696 1156 or 3696 1166, or visit the ASPM thematic website (aspm.pmsa.org.hk).

MABA Appeals for Collaboration from Communities and Stakeholders: Contain PFAS Releases at Their Source

 Mid-Atlantic Biosolids Association (MABA) appeals for collaboration from communities and stakeholders: Contain PFAS releases at their source – not after their escape into sewers.

The Mid-Atlantic Biosolids Association (MABA), today announced an appeal to the regions’ communities and stakeholders related to recent concerns regarding PFAS contaminants and their potentially harmful effects to citizens.

“We believe that the ‘polluter pays’ principle that guides many environmental protections in Pennsylvania, and across the Mid-Atlantic region, should be applied to reducing human and environmental risks from PFAS,” said Anne Marek, MABA president, “And that principle relies on the idea that those who produce pollution should bear the costs of managing it to prevent damage to human health or the environment.”

The phase out of the manufacture of PFOA and PFOS, two major types of PFAS, since 2011, has resulted in significantly declining levels of PFAS concentrations in wastewater and biosolids. Likewise human blood samples, which demonstrate the health improvement potential of eliminating sources of PFAS compounds, have decreased. However, the continued public exposure to PFAS from ubiquitous sources during manufacture and use, including some carpets, clothing, cosmetics, paper products, food packaging, and cookware, presents concern for individuals, communities, and the environment.

While the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is driving the thorough and rigorous development of PFAS analysis protocols in wastewater and biosolids, they are still in development. The long standing fact remains that biosolids land application is an excellent way to recycle wastewater solids as long as the material is quality controlled. It returns valuable nutrients to the soil and enhances conditions for vegetative growth. Furthermore, the use of biosolids in land application reduces the amount of wastewater solids disposed of in landfills, costs for the community, the production of greenhouse gasses, and affords space in landfills for other types of waste.

“MABA members take pride in their adherence to quality control regulations for the biosolids they produce and apply in the region,” said Marek, “And we encourage the state based environmental agencies to take action on PFAS. We want to work together with these groups to determine hotspots for PFAS across the region and work with wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) to identify and eliminate industrial discharges to public sewers.”

Pennsylvanians alone produce an estimated 2.2 million tons of wastewater solids, or sewage sludge and residential septage, each year, nearly a quarter of a ton per household. This material has proven to be a valuable resource, when controlled and safely applied, as a fertilizer to help rejuvenate farmland, forests and minelands. Many farmers in the mid-atlantic region have been able to reduce input costs while maintaining productivity in their fields with the use of municipal biosolids. Land application of biosolids is a historically safe and sustainable method to achieve a functioning circular economy that eliminates waste and enhances the environment.

The MABA Board issued a position statement of biosolids PFAS to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in December 2021, related to proposed changes to general permits for land application of biosolids in the Commonwealth.

The Mid-Atlantic Biosolids Association (MABA), founded in 1997, is a non-profit organization devoted to ensuring that biosolids are recognized everywhere as a valuable community resource through the communication of the benefits of biosolids resources within the wastewater community and the communities we serve.

Mid-Atlantic Biosolids Association

Mary Firestone

845-901-7905

www.mabiosolids.org

ContactContact

Categories

  • Environment

Hong Kong – HAD appeals to public to prepare for cold spell

HAD appeals to public to prepare for cold spell

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     According to the Hong Kong Observatory’s weather forecast, Hong Kong will become cold appreciably today (December 26). Temperature will fall progressively from about 16 degrees Celsius initially to a minimum of around 12 degrees Celsius tonight, and further drop below 10 degrees Celsius tomorrow (December 27). The weather will remain cold on Tuesday (December 28). The Home Affairs Department (HAD) appealed to members of the public to prepare for the cold weather.



     In view of the cold weather and the persistence of the COVID-19 epidemic, the elderly and people with chronic illness may face higher risks. As such, the HAD appeals to members of the public, especially the elderly and people with chronic illness, to dress warmly and stay at home as far as possible.



     The HAD and District Offices have already touched base with local organisations, social welfare organisations, kai fong associations and more, and appealed to them to take the initiative to contact the elderly and people in need to remind them to expect cold weather, as well as to provide necessary assistance. 



     After issue of the cold weather warning, members of the public may call the HAD hotline (Tel: 2572 8427) for enquiries relating to temporary cold shelters.

Hong Kong – SFH appeals to catering, market, hawker and cold store staff to get vaccinated (with photos/video)

SFH appeals to catering, market, hawker and cold store staff to get vaccinated (with photos/video)

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     ​The Secretary for Food and Health, Professor Sophia Chan, attended a health talk on COVID-19 vaccines organised by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) at Lai Chi Kok Government Offices today (July 30) to encourage catering, market, hawker and cold store staff to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

     The FEHD invited Dr David Lung, a specialist in clinical microbiology and infection, to serve as the guest speaker. Around 170 members of the trade participated. During the talk, Dr Lung explained to the participants the principles of the vaccines, their protection and need-to-know facts, etc. He also addressed enquiries on vaccination at the question-and-answer session.

     In delivering her remarks, Professor Chan said, “The global pandemic situation remains severe. In face of challenges posed by mutant strains, we count on our citizens to fulfil their civic responsibility and receive vaccines extensively in order to strengthen the immunity barrier in Hong Kong. I strongly appeal to individuals from various trades and organisations to get vaccinated in support of the “Early Vaccination for All” campaign proactively, with a view to protecting themselves and their families.

     “Practitioners of catering businesses, markets and cold stores are important stakeholders. In light of their job nature or the possibility of coming into frequent contact with the public, vaccination is of utmost importance to protecting their as well as the public’s health and ensuring the normal operation of the relevant businesses,” she added.

     Professor Chan also reminded participants to continue to comply with the relevant regulations on prevention and control of disease in a concerted and persistent manner, as well as to maintain personal and environmental hygiene continuously with a view to ensuring cleanliness of the premises and food safety.

     The FEHD reserved quotas at Lai Chi Kok Park Sports Centre Community Vaccination Centre and Kwun Chung Sports Centre Community Vaccination Centre for participants to receive vaccines immediately after the talk. Staff members were also present to assist participants to book a vaccination session for the second dose. For those who were unable to get vaccinated today, FEHD staff also helped them to book a session at vaccination centres to receive vaccines later.

Hong Kong – REO appeals to registered functional constituency electors to pay attention to inquiry letters

REO appeals to registered functional constituency electors to pay attention to inquiry letters

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     The Improving Electoral System (Consolidated Amendments) Ordinance 2021 has been published in the Gazette and came into effect on May 31. For compilation of the 2021 functional constituencies (FCs) provisional register, the Registration and Electoral Office (REO), yesterday (June 23) started sending inquiry letters to more than 20 000 registered electors in the FCs to notify them that they may no longer be eligible for registration in their original FCs, and therefore may not be included in the 2021 FCs provisional register.
       
FCs with changes in registration eligibility
 
     Under the Ordinance, the electorates of nine FCs (i.e. real estate and construction; commercial (second); industrial (first); financial services; sports, performing arts, culture and publication; import and export; textiles and garment; wholesale and retail; and catering) have been revised to be composed of corporate electors only. Individual electors are no longer eligible for registration in these FCs. The above affected individual electors do not need to reply to the REO upon receipt of the inquiry letters. However, if these electors meet the registration eligibility of any other FC, they must submit an application no later than July 5 in order to register in an FC for which the elector concerned is eligible.
       
     Regarding the individual electors and corporate electors of other FCs, if they receive inquiry letters issued by the REO, they must reply together with the proof of their eligibility via mail, fax or email in accordance with the letter’s instructions on or before July 5 in order to maintain their FC elector status and to vote in the Legislative Council General Election (LCGE) to be held in December this year and at subsequent public elections. If electors meet the registration eligibility of any other FC, they must submit an application no later than July 5 in order to register in an FC for which the elector concerned is eligible.
 
     The registration eligibility of the FCs deleted under the Ordinance has been listed in the Annex for reference. Existing electors registered under such eligibility will be included in the inquiry process and receive inquiry letters.
 
     To remind the electors that the letters are important and should be opened and replied to (if applicable) as soon as possible, the envelopes of all inquiry letters (sample envelope attached) carry a prominent message, “Immediate action required. Your voting right is at stake.” If the REO does not receive a valid reply from an elector under inquiry by the deadline of July 5, the registered particulars of the elector will be included in the 2021 FCs omissions list to be published on or before September 26. Electors included in the omissions list have to make a claim to the Revising Officer within the statutory duration from September 26 to October 9, such that upon approval of the Revising Officer, their voter registration (VR) status may be reinstated and they may be included in the 2021 FCs final register and be able to vote in the LCGE to be held in December this year.
 
Three FCs to be deleted
 
     As regards the three FCs to be deleted under the Ordinance (i.e. information technology, District Council (first) and District Council (second)), all existing electors registered in these FCs will be directly removed from the registers of FC electors without being subject to the inquiry process nor issuance of inquiry letters. If a removed elector meets the registration eligibility of any other FC, he or she may submit an application no later than July 5 in order to register in a FC for which he or she is eligible.
 
     The special VR arrangement opened on June 1. Newly eligible electors and affected voters who are no longer eligible must submit VR applications on or before the special VR deadline of July 5 to register in any other FC for which they are eligible in order to be included in the 2021 FCs provisional register.
 
     Electors who have enquiries on the letters received from the REO may call the REO hotline at 2891 1001. Moreover, details on the frequently asked questions, registration forms and the special VR arrangement are available on the VR page of the REO’s website (www.reo.gov.hk/en/voter/register.htm).