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October 24th, 2007:

Water Margin OSA Air Quality

The following letter was sent to the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department over concerns of contamination due to smoking in the outdoor areas of restaurants in Discovery Bay’s Water Margin complex. 

Dear Sir

We are informed the Water Margin OSA is continuing to be used daily by the restaurants since our initial complaint.

Neither have we received any update from you as promised in the letter.

We reiterate our objection under OSA guidelines for licences to be granted for OSA to these existing premises if smoking is allowed under our previously stated reasons copied below.

As regards an application for OSA – Outside Seating Accommodation guidelines :

“The operation of OSA should not create any environmental nuisance (such as water pollution, air quality nuisanceand noise nuisance).”

It is quite clear that allowing smoking in partially enclosed and covered outdoor areas like this constitutes an environmental nuisance as regards air quality nuisance to workers , passers by using the walkway who are frequently also children and non smoking patrons alike.

Accordingly Clear the Air objects to any current use of the OSA whilst smoking is permitted by the licensees in the OSA area and to any subsequent application by them to include the OSA in their licences under these legal ‘air quality nuisance’ grounds.

In addition, food is carried through and deposited in the OSA to be served to customers :
4. Adequate measures should be taken to protect food from risk of contamination during conveyance to the OSA.

The micron sized particles of cancerous environmental cigarette smoke will pass through any type of food service cover and will also contaminate the food when placed on the tables of the OSA for consumption. None of these premises other than McSoreleys has a smoking deferral approval in place.

7. The licensee should comply with the provisions of the laws of Hong Kong

The podium has numerous parasols which constitute a cover or roof under Cap 371. As such under Hong Kong laws the employers have a legal duty to protect their workers from unsafe work environments; the lethal dangers of passive cigarette smoke are documented and proven beyond contest, even acknowledged on the major tobacco company websites. ” An employer who fails to maintain the workplace in a condition that is, so far as reasonably practicable, safe and without risks to health – intentionally, knowingly or recklessly – commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of $200,000 and to imprisonment for 6 months.”   Chapter: 509 Title: OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ORDINANCE Gazette Number: L.N. 230 of 1998 Section: 6 Heading: Employers to ensure safety and health of employees Version Date: 01/06/1998

Allowing smoking in  partially covered area workplaces is definitely not a condition that is ‘safe and without risks to health.’

kind regards
James Middleton
Clear the Air