Hong Kong – Unlicensed collector and person-in-charge of open recycling site convicted of illegally handling chemical waste (with photos)

Unlicensed collector and person-in-charge of open recycling site convicted of illegally handling chemical waste (with photos)

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     An unlicensed collector and a person-in-charge of an open recycling site were convicted and fined a total of $18,000 at Fanling Magistrates’ Courts today (August 17) for contravening the Waste Disposal Ordinance (WDO) and the Waste Disposal (Chemical Waste) (General) Regulation respectively by illegally handling chemical waste.

     In January, a waste collector caused a fire when disposing of waste at the North East New Territories (NENT) Landfill, resulting in the landfill temporarily suspending its operation. After investigation, the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) found that the waste collector involved had allegedly made an illegal disposal of a large batch of waste lithium batteries, which is classified as chemical waste, without a Chemical Waste Collection Licence. Enforcement officers of the EPD immediately traced the source of the aforementioned waste.

     On the same day, the enforcement officers found that a batch of waste lithium batteries was illegally stored at an open recycling site in Ping Che, Fanling. After gathering evidence, the EPD prosecuted the unlicensed waste collector and the person-in-charge of the recycling site involved under the WDO and the Waste Disposal (Chemical Waste) (General) Regulation respectively. In addition, the EPD requested the person-in-charge to hire a licensed chemical waste collector to transport waste batteries to licensed disposal facilities for treatment instead of sending them to landfills for disposal.

     A spokesperson for the EPD said that disposing of chemical waste at the NENT Landfill is strictly prohibited. The illegal transport or disposal of improperly treated waste lithium batteries may cause fires or explosions and therefore pose dangers to landfill personnel or road users. Chemical waste must be transported in compliant vehicles by licensed collectors to suitable disposal facilities for treatment. Otherwise, it constitutes an offence. The spokesman reminded refuse collection vehicle drivers that they must ensure waste being transported to landfills for disposal is compliant with the law. Otherwise, they may be held liable upon conviction in court. The EPD will continue to rigorously combat the illegal collection or disposal of chemical waste to protect the environment.

     Anyone engaged in the illegal collection, storage and disposal of chemical waste will be prosecuted. First-time offenders are liable to a maximum fine of $200,000 and six months’ 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.

Hong Kong – FEHD and Police raid unlicensed barbeque sites at Kau Wa Keng

FEHD and Police raid unlicensed barbeque sites at Kau Wa Keng

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     The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) conducted a joint blitz operation with the Police last night (March 26) against barbeque sites involving in operating unlicensed food premises at Kau Wa Keng, Kwai Tsing District. Stringent enforcement actions on the requirements and directions under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Requirements and Directions) (Business and Premises) Regulation (Cap. 599F) (the Regulation) were also taken.

     During the operation, the FEHD arrested two persons and initiated procedures on prosecution for operating unlicensed food premises in two barbeque sites, and seized relevant paraphernalia and 83 kilogrammes of barbeque food. Since January this year, the FEHD has initiated 11 prosecutions (including six arrests) against operators of barbeque sites involving in unlicensed food premises.

     In addition, the FEHD also initiated procedures on prosecution against one barbeque site operator at Kau Wa Keng under the Regulation, relating to no more than four persons may be seated together at one table. Besides, the Police also issued Fixed Penalty Notices to 32 barbeque sites customers for violating the Prevention and Control of Disease (Prohibition on Group Gathering) Regulation (Cap. 599G) on group gathering. A spokesman for the FEHD said, “The department will continue to take stringent enforcement actions against unlicensed food premises. According to the Food Business Regulation (Cap. 132X), anyone operating an unlicensed food business commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a maximum fine of $50,000 and imprisonment for six months. A maximum fine of $50,000 and imprisonment for six months, upon conviction, may also be imposed on catering premises operators for violating the Regulation.”

     The spokesman stressed that the FEHD will continue to step up inspections at food business premises across the territory and conduct joint operations with the Police when necessary to ensure that food business operators and members of the public strictly comply with relevant regulations. Stringent enforcement actions will be taken against offenders to minimise the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in catering business premises.