A contingent of central government agency representatives conducted surprise inspections to several scrap metal collections centers in Puerto Rico, urging owners to bring their businesses up to speed with the law recently approved to regulate the industry.
During a run-through of centers in Dorado, Vega Baja and Naranjito, Telecommunications Regulatory Board President Sandra Torres — who has been leading the government’s efforts since 2009 to crack down on illegal scrap metal centers — concluded “it’s not enough to have permits up to date, but the rest of the documents required by Law 41 of 2012.”
Among the centers visited Monday were Procesadora de Metales Inc., Viejo Metal, “Material Management” and Puerto Metal Inc. in Dorado, Pagán & Pagán and Taller de Reciclaje Pagán in Vega Baja and Naranjito Metal in Naranjito.
Each center had some sort of deficiency, but avoided being fined or shut down as a result.
TRB statistics show that since 2009, the agency has headed 111 visits to 434 scrap metal collections establishments islandwide, resulting in 98 arrests, 197 complaints have been filed over violation of Law 41, 151 closure orders have been issued, the General Permits Inspector’s Office has issued $238,161 in fines and 173 people have been cited by the Police.
Representatives from the TRB, the Consumer Affairs Department and the General Permits Inspector’s Office usually participate in the surprise visits.
So far this year, 136 establishments have been inspected, resulting in 32 arrests, 59 citations, 43 orders to close and fines reaching $123,292.
“We will continue to orient all owners and managers to comply with the law. It’s certainly not our interest to paralyze centers but to continue the important work of recycling in Puerto Rico, but according to the law,” committee members said.