HONG KONG (AFP) — Three containers with suspected toxic electronic waste from the United States were detained by Hong Kong inspectors after environmental activists boarded a cargo ship, a campaigner said Sunday.
The activists from Greenpeace placed a giant banner across three containers that said "Toxic Waste Not Welcomed Here" aboard a ship that was due to unload the containers in Hong Kong late Saturday.
The e-waste would then have been trucked to nearby Guangdong province in southern China, where it would have been dismantled, Edward Chan, a Greenpeace campaigner told AFP.
"The Environmental Protection Department and customs have detained the suspect containers and we hope that they send them back the United States," Chan said, adding the shipment was from a company in Oakland, California.
"Hong Kong has always been the transit point for illegal toxic waste into China because there are legal loopholes," he said.
Greenpeace had tracked the loading of the waste in California, Chan said.
A Hong Kong government spokesman was not immediately available.
Southern China has become a world centre for the processing of illegal e-waste, with much of the world's unwanted computers broken down for constituent parts.
But without safety precautions, workers are exposed to dangerous fumes from parts such as cadmium, lead and mercury.
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