Jordan clinic convicted of mixing clinical waste with general refuse

Hong Kong (HKSAR) -      A clinic located in Jordan, Kowloon, which mixed clinical waste with general refuse for illegal disposal, was fined $50,000 at Kwun Tong Magistrates' Courts today (March 16) for contravening the Waste Disposal (Clinical Waste) (General) Regulation. The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) said it is the first prosecution case for mixing clinical waste into general waste for disposal.

     During a blitz operation at Champion Building in Jordan last October, EPD staff found that a clinic at the 12/F was mixing its clinical waste with general refuse for disposal at the back staircase. The clinical waste found included 30 used syringes (some with leftover medicine used in medical treatment), a needle and five ampoules.

Prosecution was subsequently taken against the responsible person of the operating company, Yan Kin Medical Management Limited, for violating the Waste Disposal (Clinical Waste) (General) Regulation. The responsible person of the company pleaded guilty today.

     An EPD spokesman said that the department is very concerned about the improper disposal of clinical waste by individual medical institutions. Since 2015, over 600 blitz operations have been conducted at clinics, medical buildings and clinical waste producers throughout the territory, including Chinese or Western medical clinics, veterinary clinics, medical laboratories and nursing homes.

In addition to today's conviction, two cases of causing injuries to collection workers due to improper handling of clinical waste were convicted earlier, while the prosecutions of another two cases are still in progress.

     The spokesman said that improper handling of clinical waste not only pollutes the environment but also causes risks to public health, as clinical waste may carry infectious materials. Cleaning workers may be injured by the needles or other sharp instruments in the general refuse. The EPD will continue to conduct blitz inspection to monitor suspected illegal disposal of waste at medical institutions.

Prosecution will be initiated if any illegal disposal of clinical waste is found.

     According to the Waste Disposal (Clinical Waste) (General) Regulation, clinical waste must be collected by licensed clinical waste collectors or self-delivered by healthcare professionals to the licensed Chemical Waste Treatment Centre at Tsing Yi for treatment. It is an offence to mix any clinical waste with general waste for disposal. Offenders are liable to a maximum fine of $200,000.

The EPD reminded all responsible people and staff of medical institutions such as hospitals, medical clinics, veterinaries, medical laboratories and nursing homes that they must handle and dispose of clinical waste properly in accordance with the legal requirement.

     Public and building management offices may report any suspected illegal disposal of clinical waste to the EPD at 2835 1055.

Published on: 2017-03-16

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