Chemical Waste Management in Hong Kong
Chemical wastes (e.g. waste acid and alkali, waste organic solvent, waste lube oil, waste lead-acid batteries, waste asbestos, etc.) are hazardous in nature or constitute a risk of pollution to the environment. Indiscriminate disposal of chemical waste has very serious health, safety and environmental consequences. Release into coastal waters causes damage to local marine life and accumulation of toxins in sea-food generally creates a serious health hazard to the community. Uncontrolled disposal at municipal waste facilities and into sewerage systems and sewage treatment facilities threatens the health and safety of the operatives. It also results in costly repairs and replacement of these facilities as well as disruption to their operation.
The White Paper: Pollution in Hong Kong A time to act, published in June 1989, set out Government's intention to introduce complete controls on chemical waste. The Waste Disposal (Chemical Waste)(General) Regulation, enacted on 18 March 1992, under the Waste Disposal Ordinance (Laws of Hong Kong Chapter 354) along with certain sections of the Ordinance provides such a statutory scheme of control.
The main objective of the scheme of control is to ensure that chemical waste is properly managed by all parties, from the source of production through to the place of final disposal. Figure 1 illustrates the scheme of control.
Specifically, the Waste Disposal (Chemical Waste) (General) Regulation (the Regulation) provides for the definition of chemical waste, the registration of persons producing chemical waste, and the control of the possession, storage, collection, transport and disposal of chemical waste. In addition, the Waste Disposal Ordinance (the Ordinance) provides for the licensing of waste collection, transport and disposal activities and the control on import and export of chemical waste.
The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) is the enforcement authority for the controls.
If you want to know more information about the Chemical Waste Control Scheme, click here for a list of guidelines and codes of practice on chemical waste control.
Figure 1 - "Cradle to grave" controls on chemical waste (Click here to enlarge)