Q1 Anti-epidemic work in private buildings
MR CHAN CHUN-YING (in Cantonese):
President, when the Government commissions consultants to inspect the external drainage pipes of private buildings, it mainly wants to check whether there are leaking and defects against the law. However, the regulations on drainage pipes of buildings, such as the requirement that the exhaust outlet of a dung channel must be higher than the roof by 1 m, were formulated as early as 1976. In other words, for a total of 44 years, they have not been amended. Hong Kong has very high building density. In areas packed with old buildings, there are high-rise as well as low-rise buildings. Since the exhaust outlets of dung channels on the rooftops of some old buildings may be just facing the bedroom windows of the adjacent buildings, the emissions and viruses coming out from the exhaust outlets may go directly into the bedrooms at any time. Hence, may I ask the Government, apart from the inspection scheme mentioned in the main reply, whether it has any plan to review the laws concerned?
SECRETARY FOR DEVELOPMENT (in Cantonese):
President, I thank Mr CHAN for his supplementary question. In fact, BD is currently working on the second stage of lawamendment to the legislation concerned―the first stage of law amendment work was finished a few years ago―the second stage of law amendment work includes reviewing the requirements of the external drainage systems of buildings. For example, one of the situations under review is that, in some very tall buildings, the drain outlets of upper and lower floors share the same drainage pipe which runs directly to the ground. This may give rise to an undesirable condition of pressure fluctuations inside the pipe when the upper floor flushes the toilet, leading to backflow of sewage. Hence, we are studying the imposition of a requirement that the drainage pipes of upper and lower floors of all newly constructed buildings or buildings undergoing conversion works must be separated. In this regard, we will consult the industry. Concerning the specific example just mentioned by Mr CHAN, he may also have learnt about a case in Tai Po with a situation similar to what he has described. The expert team from the Government is now studying the details of that case. After the related study is finished and if further alteration or improvement works to the drainage pipes are warranted, we will definitely follow up the issue.