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Environment authorities of Hong Kong and Japan collaborate to combat illegal import and export of chemical waste
     The Environmental Protection Department (EPD), through cross-border collaboration, successfully prosecuted two exporters for illegal export of two containers of waste printed circuit boards (PCBs), which are classified as chemical waste, to Japan. The two exporters were fined a total of $16,000 by Fanling Magistrates' Courts today (October 17) for contravening the Waste Disposal Ordinance (WDO).

     An EPD spokesman said that in March and April this year, the department and the Ministry of the Environment of Japan detected suspicious shipments of hazardous waste from Hong Kong to Japan. Upon thorough investigation and evidence collection, the EPD successfully prosecuted two cases of illegal export of some 11 tonnes of waste PCBs, which were under the control of chemical waste, to Japan. The total market value of the waste PCBs was about $110,000.

     The spokesman said, "The department has all along been taking stringent enforcement action on the import and export of hazardous waste in accordance with the WDO, and maintaining close contact with overseas enforcement agencies to exchange intelligence to jointly combat illegal activities on cross-boundary movement of hazardous waste."

     The spokesman stressed that exporters of the waste recycling trade must abide by the law and apply to the EPD for a valid permit prior to the export of regulated waste including waste PCBs and waste lead-acid batteries, which are classified as chemical waste. This is to ensure that the waste intended for export will be delivered to specified overseas recycling facilities for proper recycling, and that approval has been granted from the regulating agency of the export destination to recycle the waste. Waste PCBs and hazardous electronic waste are classified as chemical waste as they contain heavy metals (such as mercury, lead and nickel) and other toxic chemicals. Improper handling of such waste can cause harm to the environment and public health.

     According to the WDO, it is an offence for anyone to import or export (including transshipment) hazardous waste without a valid permit. 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.
Ends/Tuesday, October 17, 2017
Issued at HKT 15:15
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