EPD intercepts illegal collection and trading of waste lead-acid batteries (with photo)

     The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) today (June 29) said that a truck involved in the illegal collection of waste lead-acid batteries was intercepted in a blitz operation in Wan Chai yesterday. About 60 waste lead-acid batteries, with an estimated market value of around $3,000, were found on the truck. The EPD is now conducting thorough investigation into the parties involved and gathering evidence in preparation for instituting prosecutions.

     An EPD spokesman said that as waste lead-acid batteries contain sulphuric acid and lead, they are classified as chemical waste. To protect the environment, only licensed chemical waste collectors are allowed to collect, store and dispose of chemical waste, including waste lead-acid batteries. In addition, chemical waste must be delivered to the EPD's licensed chemical waste treatment facilities for treatment and disposal, according to the Waste Disposal Ordinance and the Waste Disposal (Chemical Waste) (General) Regulation.

     The EPD has stepped up surprise checks and blitz operations to enhance enforcement against illegal collection and trading activities concerning waste lead-acid batteries. During the first two quarters of this year, the EPD has intercepted five cases of illegal collection and storage of waste lead-acid batteries at various locations in the territory. The EPD has completed investigation of three cases and will initiate prosecutions, while the remaining two cases are still under detailed investigation and the EPD will initiate prosecutions following the completion of evidence collection.

     Lead-acid batteries are widely used in vehicles and large-sized powered machine equipment, large-scale telecommunication systems and backup power supply for computer server systems and data centres. The EPD has already held a number of briefings this year and various stakeholders, including licensed collectors, operators of treatment facilities, computer equipment recyclers and vehicle repair practitioners, were invited to attend. They are reminded to comply with relevant legal requirements and waste lead-acid batteries must be handled by licensed chemical waste collectors. Anyone engaging in the collection, storage and disposal of chemical waste must obtain a license from the EPD and strictly comply with requirements of the regulations.

     It is an offence for anyone to collect, store, handle, 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.

     More information about the control of chemical waste is available on the EPD's website:
www.epd.gov.hk/epd/english/environmentinhk/waste/guide_ref/guide_cwc.html and

Ends/Wednesday, June 29, 2016
Issued at HKT 19:37