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 user 2005-04-05 at 12:00:00 pm Views: 49
  • #29320

    Tiny HK Falling Foul of Electronic Waste -Greenpeace

    APRIL, 2005 – Hong Kong has become a dumping ground for
    electronic waste from the United States, Europe and Japan and soil tests have
    uncovered excessive lead levels in the soil, according to Greenpeace.

    Nearly 100 large, open fields in the city’s New Territories are covered in a
    sea of old computers, televisions, printers and printed circuit boards.

    The semi-rural New Territories, near the border with mainland China, has
    become a receiving and sorting station for the waste before disassembled parts
    are sent across the border for recycling.

    “Up till 2003, we had only old local computers in small shops in Hong Kong,
    but what’s happened now is the waste has moved into large rural areas, and these
    are imports from outside — the U.S., Europe and Japan,” said Edward Chan of
    Greenpeace in Hong Kong.

    The spillover into Hong Kong came after Beijing banned the import of
    electronic waste in 2000.

    Traders quickly worked around that by sending containers of waste into Hong
    Kong, where computers and other electronic goods are disassembled before being
    trucked into other parts of southern China.

    “The traders just label these containers as second-hand goods and there is
    nothing the Hong Kong authorities can do. It has no laws against imports of
    electronic waste,” Chan said.

    “Workers disassemble them into smaller parts here and then sell them into
    China where there are traders who buy different parts for recycling … If we
    don’t stop this, we will further dirty this place, and become an entrepot for
    electronic waste.”

    Chan said there were now at least 91 fields in the New Territories holding
    electronic waste. Some were as large as a standard football pitch and these can
    store over 100 tonnes of such waste at any one time. Smaller fields hold half as

    “We have 2,000 tonnes of rubbish at any one time,” he said.

    Tests on soil samples collected at these blackspots were found to contain up
    to 10 times as much lead than uncontaminated soil, which typically have lead
    levels of below 10-30mg/kg.

    Lead is harmful to the human nervous system, blood circulation
    and organs.

    The Hong Kong government was not immediately available for comment.