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EPD detects alleged illegal collection and storage of chemical waste by recycling site in Yuen Long (with photos)

     The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) today (March 17) announced that during its inspections of recycling sites in Yuen Long earlier, a large amount of chemical waste, namely cathode ray tubes (CRTs), was found illegally stored at an open recycling yard in Lau Fau Shan. The EPD is now investigating the parties involved and gathering information for instituting prosecution.

     An EPD spokesman said, "Waste CRTs are obtained from old-fashioned television sets or computer monitors. They contain large amounts of lead and its compounds and are classified as chemical waste. According to the Waste Disposal Ordinance and the Waste Disposal (Chemical Waste) (General) Regulation, any person who collects, stores, disposes of, imports or exports chemical waste must apply for a permit from the EPD. The recycling yard concerned has not obtained the required approval."

     After an initial investigation, the EPD suspected that the case may involve illegal collection and storage of waste CRTs for export sale. About 12 000 waste CRTs were seized by the EPD and the estimated export value was about $250,000.

     "All chemical waste must be properly handled to avoid causing pollution to the environment or affecting public health. To enhance enforcement against illegal collection and trading activities of regulated chemical waste, the EPD has already stepped up surprise inspections at recycling sites," the spokesman said.

     General household old-fashioned television sets and computer monitors themselves are not chemical waste. However, the CRTs obtained from dismantled television sets and computer monitors contain various toxic substances and heavy metals which are mainly lead and its compounds. As improper handling of CRTs will cause harm to the environment and people's health, CRTs are put under the control through classification as chemical waste.

     The EPD reminds waste recycling site operators and those who are engaged in the collection, import and export of recyclables to strictly comply with the legal requirements in handling chemical waste. According to the Waste Disposal Ordinance and Waste Disposal (Chemical Waste) (General) Regulation, chemical waste must be collected by licensed chemical waste collectors for delivery to the EPD's licensed chemical waste treatment facilities for disposal. Any persons who wish to import or export chemical waste require a permit issued by the EPD. 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.

     Members of the public may visit the EPD's website for more information about the control of chemical waste:

Ends/Thursday, March 17, 2016
Issued at HKT 16:02


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