FEHD targets dripping air conditioners in “CLEARSKY” operation

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20th May 2024 – (Hong Kong) To address the ongoing issue of air conditioners dripping and improve urban environmental hygiene, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) of Hong Kong has launched an enforcement operation named “CLEARSKY.”

The campaign, which spans several districts, marks a significant shift in the department’s strategy by adopting a more proactive and collective approach to enforcement.

Over the span from 3rd to 16th May, the FEHD’s efforts concentrated on problematic areas including Eastern, Central and Western, Yau Tsim, Sham Shui Po, Tsuen Wan, and Yuen Long Districts. A total of 64 private buildings and housing estates were inspected under the operation. As a result, 182 nuisance notices were issued to owners or occupiers linked to environmental disturbances caused by improperly managed air conditioners.

The operation’s methodology represents a departure from traditional individual complaint-based actions. Instead, it leverages historical data to identify and target buildings with recurring issues. “Operation CLEARSKY is not just about addressing individual cases but is an organised effort to tackle the issue at the building level, enhancing overall effectiveness and reducing public nuisance,” explained an FEHD spokesman.

In addition to enforcement, the operation is complemented by significant educational initiatives aimed at raising awareness among the public. Prior to the enforcement phase, from 26th April to 2nd May, the FEHD engaged in a territory-wide campaign to educate the public about the issues surrounding dripping air conditioners. This phase involved distributing leaflets, in collaboration with property management agents and local community leaders, and the placement of informative posters and banners.

This proactive approach comes ahead of the summer months, a period when the use of air conditioners peaks and the problem of water dripping tends to escalate. The FEHD hopes that early intervention will mitigate the issue before it heightens with the warmer weather.

Reflecting on the operation’s initial results, the FEHD spokesperson indicated that the department would evaluate the outcomes of this pilot scheme to determine its effectiveness. “Depending on the results, there is potential to extend CLEARSKY to other districts facing similar challenges, thereby broadening our impact,” he noted.

Under the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance (Cap. 132), the legal framework supports these actions. If an occupant’s air conditioner discharges water such that it becomes a hygiene nuisance, the FEHD is empowered to issue a Nuisance Notice. Non-compliance can lead to prosecution, with offenders facing a possible fine of up to $10,000 and a daily fine of $200 if the nuisance persists.