Hong Kong residents turn to mountain springs for drinking water

Hong Kong, March 26 (IANS) Residents of some of Hong Kong’s public housing complexes are turning to mountain springs for drinking water following a scandal over water tainted with lead, authorities said on Saturday.

People living in housing estates near Tsz Wan Shan Road in Kowloon have been seen collecting water from mountain spring pipes for as long as three weeks, Efe news reported citing the South China Morning Post as saying.

A five-month government investigation into the water scandal wrapped up on March 16, following the discovery last June of excessively high levels of lead in tap water at the Kai Ching Estate in Kowloon City.

Overly high levels were also found at other public housing complexes, with some blaming the materials used to solder pipes in the buildings.

Last August, the scandal spread, and people staged street protests, when it was found that lead traces in the drinking water at two Hong Kong schools were many times higher than the safety level stipulated by the World Health Organisation.

The commission to look into the scandal, chaired by Justice Andrew Chan Hing-wai, did not blame any one party for the tainted water problem, but concluded that all parties, including the Housing Authority and Water Supplies Department, bore some responsibility for failing to ensure water safety.

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