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The Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong (BPA) welcomes today’s (August 13) announcement by the Government to appoint the Commission to inquire into the incidents of excess lead found in drinking water. Mr Justice Andrew Chan Hing-wai, Judge of the Court of First Instance of the High Court, has been appointed as Chairman and Commissioner, and Mr. Alan Lai Lin, former ICAC Commissioner and Ombudsman, has been appointed as Commissioner. The BPA has every confidence that Justice Chan and Mr. Lai, who share impeccable credentials, will conduct a proper and thorough investigation into the causes of the water contamination and to do so in an unbiased manner free of any political considerations.
The BPA believes that the Commission will come to a conclusion fairly quickly and that it will put forward effective and long-term recommendations to both resolve the issue and address public concerns. It is however noted that a report from the Commission would only be available within nine months after its establishment. As such, the BPA hopes that the Commission would provide an interim update to keep the public abreast of developments with the investigation. In the meantime, the BPA urges the government to provide assistance to households and residents affected by tainted drinking water.
As a protective measure, the BPA suggests letting taps run for a minute prior to using the water for drinking. To minimise wastage, water obtained during the one-minute window can be used for washing, watering plants and other non-consumption uses. This would however imply an increase in water usage and fees. The BPA therefore urges the Government to raise the cap on free water consumption, which currently stands at 12 cubic metres. At the same time, the Government should also install, without charge, appropriate water filters for affected housing estates, and to offer counselling support to households as needed.