Pol­lu­tion ac­tion plan de­tailed

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - TOP NEWS - By ZHENG JINRAN zhengjin­ran@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China spelled out de­tails of its ini­tia­tive to ban im­ports of pol­lut­ing garbage, is­su­ing an ac­tion plan on Thurs­day that in­creases the lim­its on the types and amounts of the waste.

The cen­tral govern­ment has ap­proved the ac­tion plan, to be com­pleted by the end of 2019, that bans im­ports of for­eign waste and im­proves the do­mes­tic re­cy­cling in­dus­try.

China will stop ac­cept­ing ship­ments of various types of plas­tics, un­sorted pa­per, tex­tiles and vana­dium slag by the end of this year. The list of banned items will likely grow longer as more types of solid waste are added, a State Coun­cil state­ment in­di­cates.

“China will step up the fight against solid waste smug­gling to keep for­eign garbage from get­ting into the coun­try,” it added.

On July 18, China no­ti­fied the World Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion of the ban on im­ports of 24 types of solid waste that will take ef­fect by the end of this year.

Agen­cies in­volved in solid­waste im­ports and man­age­ment, such as en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion bu­reaus and the Gen­eral Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Cus­toms, will take tough mea­sures against il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ties, such as smug­gling and pro­cess­ing solid waste, the cen­tral govern­ment said. The fo­cus will be on scrap plas­tic and pa­per, elec­tronic waste and used tex­tiles.

China also will re­vise man­age­ment reg­u­la­tions on im­ported solid waste by the end of next year, which will fur­ther cut the num­ber of ports that can ac­cept ship­ments.

In ad­di­tion to the re­stric­tions on im­port­ing solid waste, China in­tends to boost the do­mes­tic re­cy­cling busi­ness. By 2020, the amount of solid waste re­cy­cled in China will in­crease to 350 mil­lion met­ric tons, from 246 mil­lion tons in 2015.

Since the 1980s, China has im­ported some solid waste — such as pa­per, plas­tic and some scrap me­tals — as raw ma­te­ri­als, Guo Jing, di­rec­tor of in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion at the Min­istry of En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion, said last week.

But large amounts of dirty or haz­ardous waste have been mixed in with im­ported solid waste, boost­ing the prof­its for those in­volved.

This has con­tam­i­nated the en­vi­ron­ment, but the ban will pro­tect the en­vi­ron­ment as well as the pub­lic’s health, the min­istry said on Thurs­day.

Many do­mes­tic com­pa­nies process im­ported solid waste and dis­charge ex­ces­sive and il­le­gal pol­lu­tants, the min­istry said, in­creas­ing the pres­sure for cleanup mea­sures to clear away the re­sul­tant in­creased air, wa­ter and soil pol­lu­tion.

In a month­long in­spec­tion, which be­gan on July 1, the min­istry’s in­spec­tors have found mas­sive prob­lems at pro­cess­ing com­pa­nies. Of the 1,729 com­pa­nies vis­ited by Sun­day, vi­o­la­tions, in­clud­ing ex­ces­sive dis­charges, were found at 1,037 of them.

Many other coun­tries, such as Viet­nam and In­done­sia, also have re­stric­tions on im­ported solid waste, the min­istry said.

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