Dumped TV screens finally taken away
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Nearly 100 potentially hazardous television screens mysteriously dumped on a Yuen Long roadside were finally taken away yesterday, a month after deadlock between two government departments prevented their prompt removal.
The screens, all cathode ray tubes made by French electronics manufacturer Thomson, had been found abandoned at two passing areas in Kam Ho Road last month.
They were not properly packaged and were stacked on boards.
The units contained mercury and lead, and it was feared they could become a human and ecological hazard if they were broken.
The screens were first noticed by passers-by early last month and reports were made to police, who referred the case to government departments.
But the referral resulted in deadlock between the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) and the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD).
This was finally resolved yesterday when the EPD agreed to arrange for a contractor to remove the screens. They are being stored temporarily at an electronic waste handler.
The removal came before expiry of a four-hour ultimatum issued by the FEHD for the sets to be removed.
It posted a notice at the sites yesterday morning but no one showed up to reclaim them.
The environmental department yesterday sidestepped the issue of whether there had been a dispute with the food department over the nature of the waste.
It said it had been trying to trace the screens' owner based on a tip-off from a witness who saw a vehicle unloading them, and its number plate.
A spokesman said it was seeking help from other departments for information on the vehicle owner, adding that legal action would be taken if there was sufficient evidence on the dumping.
A spokeswoman for the FEHD said the screens had been removed by the EPD after communication between the departments, but she did not say why this had taken so long.
Man Chi-sum, chief executive officer of Green Power, said the two departments had followed rigid rules, but the EPD should not evade its principal responsibility of handling the apparent electronic waste. He believed the screens and their casings had been imported by local recyclers who intended to break them down for re-export to the mainland or Southeast Asia and then dispose of the unwanted parts.
'How can we allow such waste to be imported to the city when we have no facility to handle and treat them? We should really consider introducing an effective import ban or there will be more similar dumping,' he said.