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EPD detects illegal storage and disposal of chemical waste by Yuen Long recycling site
     ​An operating company and director of a recycling site in Yuen Long have been prosecuted for illegal storage and disposal of hazardous electronic waste (e-waste). They were convicted and fined a total of $45,000 at Fanling Magistrates' Courts today (March 20) for contravening the Waste Disposal Ordinance (WDO) and the Waste Disposal (Chemical Waste) (General) Regulation.
     During an inspection at Shek Wu Wai Road in San Tin, Yuen Long, last August, the workers of a recycling site were caught red-handed by Environmental Protection Department (EPD) staff while they were dismantling waste flat panel displays (FPDs), which were classified as chemical waste. At the recycling site, about 600 FPDs with a total market value of approximately $60,000 were also found. The operating company was suspected to have permitted the recycling site to be used for the disposal of chemical waste without a licence. In addition, the chemical waste was not properly stored and no warning labels were displayed in accordance with the statutory requirements, posing risks to the environment and public health. Following investigation and collection of evidence, the EPD prosecuted the recycling site operating company and its director.
     An EPD spokesman said that hazardous e-waste, including waste FPDs, waste lead-acid batteries and waste printed circuit boards dismantled from electrical appliances are classified as chemical waste as they contain heavy metals (such as lead and mercury) and other toxic chemicals. Improper handling of such waste can cause harm to the environment and public health.
     The spokesman reminded all waste collectors, importers and exporters and operators of recycling sites that chemical waste producers should register with the EPD in accordance with the WDO and the Regulation. Chemical waste must be properly packaged, labelled and stored, and has to be collected by licensed chemical waste collectors for delivery to licensed chemical waste disposal facilities for disposal. A valid permit has to be obtained from the EPD for importing or exporting such waste (including transshipment through Hong Kong). 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. 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/Tuesday, March 20, 2018
Issued at HKT 17:46
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