EPD detects illegal collection, storage and handling of chemical waste by recycling sites in Sheung Shui and Yuen Long

Hong Kong (HKSAR) -      The responsible person of a recycling site and the owner of another recycling site, who illegally collected, stored and handled hazardous electronic waste (e-waste), were convicted and fined a total of $30,000 at Fanling Magistrates' Courts on January 30 and today (February 6) for contravening the Waste Disposal Ordinance (WDO) and the Waste Disposal (Chemical Waste) (General) Regulation.

     The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) has all along been committed to combating illegal disposal of various types of hazardous e-waste. During the operations in June and July last year, two recycling sites in Yau Tam Mei in Yuen Long and Ma Tso Lung in Sheung Shui were respectively caught handling waste printed circuit boards (PCBs) illegally. A total of about 2.4 tonnes of chemical waste was seized and the total market value was about $240,000.

Upon in-depth investigation and evidence gathering, the EPD initiated prosecutions against the responsible person of the Yuen Long recycling site and the owner of the Sheung Shui recycling site.

     An EPD spokesman explained that hazardous e-waste, including waste flat display panels, waste lead-acid batteries and waste PCBs dismantled from electrical appliances, contains heavy metals (such as lead and mercury) and other toxic chemicals. Improper handling of such waste can cause harm to the environment and public health. 

     The spokesman reminded all waste collectors, importers and exporters and operators of recycling sites that chemical waste producers should register with the EPD in accordance with the WDO and the Regulation. Chemical waste must be properly packaged, labelled and stored, and has to be collected by licensed chemical waste collectors for delivery to licensed chemical waste disposal facilities for disposal.

A valid permit has to be obtained from the EPD for importing or exporting such waste (including transshipment through Hong Kong). It is an offence for anyone to collect, store, dispose of, import or export chemical waste not according to the legal requirements. First-time offenders are liable to a maximum fine of $200,000 and six months' imprisonment.

For subsequent offences, offenders are liable to a maximum fine of $500,000 and two years' imprisonment.

     Members of the public may visit the EPD's website for more information about the control of chemical waste: http://www.epd.gov.hk/epd/english/environmentinhk/waste/guide_ref/guide_cwc.html" target="_blank">www.epd.gov.hk/epd/english/environmentinhk/waste/guide_ref/guide_cwc.html.

Published on: 2018-02-06

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