EPD conducts blitz operation to combat illegal activities at Yuen Long recycling sites (with photos)

     Environmental Protection Department (EPD) enforcement officers today (January 11) conducted a joint blitz operation with the Police at four open recycling sites at Shan Ha Tsuen in Yuen Long to check whether their operations were in compliance with environmental laws and regulations.

     During the operation, regulated hazardous electronic waste (e-waste) was found being improperly managed at two recycling sites, including some 12 tonnes of waste printed circuit boards (PCBs) and around 9 000 LCD monitors. The EPD is now investigating the people involved and gathering evidence for initiating prosecutions.

     An EPD spokesman said, "The EPD has all along been taking stringent action against illegal collection, storage, disposal, import and export of hazardous e-waste by recycling sites, and will continue to conduct enforcement operations with relevant departments and prosecute the offenders."

     The spokesman stressed that dismantled or destroyed PCBs, LCD monitors and cathode ray tubes are hazardous e-waste, containing heavy metals and other toxic substances. They are classified as chemical waste and are regulated under the existing laws on chemical waste disposal. Chemical waste is hazardous by nature and, if not properly controlled, will pollute the environment and pose a risk to the health of relevant trade practitioners and the general public. Hence, the Government has been applying stringent control of the recycling and handling of hazardous e-waste in accordance with the existing law.

     The EPD reminded recycling operators that they should strictly comply with the existing law on the control of chemical waste enacted in 1992. They should register with the EPD in accordance with the law if they produce chemical waste. Chemical waste must be properly packaged, labelled and stored, as well as collected by licensed chemical waste collectors for delivery to licensed chemical waste disposal facilities for disposal. A permit has to be obtained from the EPD for exporting such waste to designated chemical waste facilities overseas for recycling or disposal. 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: www.epd.gov.hk/epd/english/environmentinhk/waste/guide_ref/guide_cwc.html.

Ends/Thursday, January 11, 2018
Issued at HKT 17:00