One hundred and fifty nine tons of street rubbish - that's what got left in the wake of the Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations in Hong Kong on Tuesday night.
On the bright side, the amount of trash is a 20 percent drop from last year - 42 tons less, said the Leisure and Cultural Affairs Department.
Hongkongers have been more cooperative in picking up their trash after this year's festivities, said Permanent Secretary for Environment, Transport and Works Kwok Ka-keung.
"I think the significant improvement in the littering situation this year is the result of citizens adopting a more co-operative attitude and the government's efforts in increasing its publicity," Kwok said.
The decrease in amount of rubbish was also observed by green groups organizing volunteer cleaning sessions at various country parks and beaches across the territory yesterday.
In Aberdeen Country Park, 39 kilograms of trash were found, compared to 180 kilograms collected there last year.
Kwok noted that the practice of burning wax is still prevalent despite the publicity campaign that stresses it is a legal offence.
Police said nine people were prosecuted for burning wax.
Eleven people, aged between one and 42, were injured in wax-burning accidents. Last year's casualty number was eight.
Staff of the Leisure and Cultural Affairs Department issued more than 3,800 verbal warnings - 40 percent less than last year's 6,200.
"I would like to remind citizens to continue to pick up their own trash, and that people who burn wax will be prosecuted," Kwok said.
He also revealed that this year's mooncake tin recycling scheme was a success.
"The government will continue to implement the scheme next year to reduce waste, and we are advising manufacturers to reduce unnecessary packaging and wrappings for mooncakes."
He said the government will not consider raising littering fines at this stage, but will concentrate more efforts on educating the public.
If you include the mooncake tins, it is estimated that an average of 750 tons of trash are produced from the aftermath of the Mid-Autumn Festival every year in Hong Kong.
(China Daily September 30 ,2004)