LONG-AWAITED proposals to charge polluters for chemical waste disposal should go to the Executive Council for approval by the end of June. The revised charges are needed to recover the $200 million to $300 million annual operating costs of the Tsing Yi Island chemical waste treatment plant. The Assistant Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands, Mr Nicholas Fry, yesterday said they were putting finishing touches to the proposal for Exco. Government departments had objected to a charge fearing it could fuel inflation, drive away manufacturers and harm the economy if it was too broadly based or too high. But Mr Fry said there was agreement on a charge. Plans to charge polluters have been in the works for at least two years and the delay in implementing them came under attack from some legislators worried about the burden on the public purse. The Government had hoped to fund the treatment plant through a 0.75 per cent levy on all chemical imports, but was forced to back down last summer after a year-long battle with the chemical industry over the plan. The industry had argued the levy would unfairly hit re-exporters and chemical manufacturers who already treated their waste, and instead wanted a direct charge on the polluters. But Mr Fry said this could have a devastating effect on some sectors as waste treatment was expensive for certain types of chemicals. Mr Fry earlier said they had drawn up options for direct charges, indirect charges or a combination of the two. The Tsing Yi plant was commissioned in April and shortly after regulations came into effect making illegal the previous practice of pouring chemical wastes down the drain.