Controls on solid waste tightened
Effort to stop smuggling of imported ‘foreign garbage’ gets new emphasis
By the end of this year, China plans to ban 24 types of solid waste, including plastics, textiles and unsorted paper. The list of items banned from import is expected to grow longer by 2019 in categories that can be replaced by domestic sources, according to the action plan.
Along with the foreign garbage, other types of solid waste were listed as targets in the national campaign to control pollution because of their large volume and the hazards posed to the environment and public health. They include materials generated from industrial production, breeding farms and hospitals.
China generates considerable amounts of domestic solid waste annually — 4 billion tons of waste from livestock and poultry, 3.3 billion tons from plants and 1.35 million tons from hospitals. Moreover, the country has accumulated around 60 to 70 billion tons of solid waste, a figure that continues to grow and exacerbate environmental problems.
Mining is a particular source of concern.
“Of 8,345 tailing ponds, 90 percent are small scale but with high risks of environmental contamination,” Zhang said, warning governments to take more precautions.
China has expanded its solidwaste processing capacity and has issued measures to control pollution in recent years. In 2015, 65 percent, or 1.99 billion tons, of solid waste from industrial production was processed and recycled — 13 percentage points more than in 2001.
But Zhang advocated additional measures, including revising related laws, improving management and carrying out stronger enforcement to reduce solid waste pollution. The result would be a better environment and improved public health, he said.
Contact the writers at zhengjinran@ chinadaily.com.cn