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Garage owner, recycler, truck driver and porter fined for illegal disposal and collection of chemical waste
     A garage owner in To Kwa Wan and a scrap metal dealer, a truck driver and a porter in Tai Kok Tsui, who were all involved in the illegal disposal and collection of chemical waste, were fined a total of $96,000 by Kwun Tong Magistrates' Courts today (June 22) for contravening the Waste Disposal Ordinance (WDO) and the Waste Disposal (Chemical Waste) (General) Regulation.

     During a blitz operation in To Kwa Wan in December 2016, Environmental Protection Department (EPD) staff found that a garage did not label and store waste lead acid batteries (WLABs) and failed to register as a chemical waste producer in accordance with the law. The EPD subsequently initiated prosecution against the garage owner in accordance with the Regulation. In addition, during another blitz operation in December 2016, EPD staff intercepted a truck which was collecting waste from a scrap metal shop in Tai Kok Tsui and more than 10 WLABs were found in the truck. The scrap metal dealer was found to have bought and collected waste batteries from shops nearby for resale. None of the them possessed a chemical waste collection licence. The EPD subsequently prosecuted all of them in accordance with the WDO and the Regulation. All the defendants pleaded guilty to the charges today.

     An EPD spokesman said that vehicle batteries contain sulphuric acid and lead. Used vehicle batteries are classified as chemical waste and should be handled properly. The spokesman reminded those engaged in the businesses of vehicle repair and recycling that they must register with the EPD as a chemical waste producer and should properly pack, label and store waste batteries in suitable cabinets as stipulated in the code of practice promulgated under the WDO. Such waste must also be delivered to the licensed chemical waste treatment facilities for disposal by licensed chemical waste collectors to avoid leakage of toxic materials from the batteries to pollute the environment.

     According to the WDO and the Regulation, anyone who produces, collects and disposes of chemical waste not in accordance with the law commits an offence. First-time offenders are liable to a maximum fine of $200,000 and six months' imprisonment.
Ends/Thursday, June 22, 2017
Issued at HKT 15:30
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