Hong Kong’s Environmental Protection Department (EPD) has said it will strengthen intelligence on waste imports into the province.
This follows the prosecution of importer SIRG HK Limited that was fined $15,000 (£1,400) for illegally importing municipal waste from Canada that was labelled as ABS plastics.
In November 2019, inspectors at the Kwai Tsing Container Terminal discovered that the 41 tonnes of waste that were described as ABS plastics actually contained mixed plastics, waste printed circuit boards, waste wires, waste paper and waste wood.
The containers were repatriated and a prosecution began against the importer.
A spokesman for the EPD said: “To prevent Hong Kong from becoming a dumping ground for imported waste, or a distribution hub for the illegal re-export of waste, the department has been closely exchanging intelligence and collaborating with the Customs and Excise Department (CE&D) on the interception of wastes of various types entering Hong Kong illegally through different channels.
“In recent years, the cases of illegal import of municipal waste, mainly originating from Europe and United States, have been rising.
“The EPD intercepted five cases and six cases of illegal import of municipal waste in 2020 and 2019 respectively, a significant increase as compared to only one case over the three-year period from 2016 to 2018.
“In view of this increasing trend, the EPD will continue to enhance intelligence exchanges and risk analyses with overseas competent authorities, and work with CE&D to inspect suspicious containers to combat these illegal activities.”