Lawmakers slam environmental authorities 'duplication effort' as they reorganize departments

Lawmakers questioned whether reorganizing the Environment and Ecology Bureau (EEB) and Environmental Protection Department (EPD) would clarify officers’ responsibilities as seven directorate-grade posts were proposed to be created.

The Establishment Subcommittee announced today to approve the structural reorganization proposal for the EPD and the Environment Branch of the EEB, claiming it is necessary to cope with the increasing work complexity during the expansion of power and authority over the past 10 years.

According to the proposal, the Environment Branch will designate a post for Climate Change Officers and create a Deputy Director, two Assistant Directors, and a Principal Environmental Protection Officer in EPD.

"The reorganization will focus on clarifying the previous refuse collection work of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) and transfer it to the EPD," said Tse Chin-wan, Secretary for Environment and Ecology.

However, the reorganization incurred criticism from lawmakers in the Legislative Council on Wednesday.

Lawmaker Kitson Yang Wing-kit said the refuse collection work should be fully delegated to the FEHD rather than setting up new posts in the EPD to share the workload, which would create overlapping efforts instead.

Lawmaker Gary Zhang Xinyu argued that the post of Climate Change Officer overlaps with the Secretary for Environment and Ecology.

"Is it necessary to find a person with a high-level salary to support another person with high wages to do the same job?" he questioned.

The former government raised the structural reorganization proposal but withdrew it in a Legislative Council meeting in June this year as lawmakers failed to reach an agreement.