Solid waste im­ports ban shows re­solve to pro­tect en­vi­ron­ment

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT - IM­PORTS OF EN­VI­RON­MEN­TALLY HAZ­ARDOUS SOLID WASTE

will end be­fore the end of the year, and im­ports of solid waste that can be re­placed by do­mes­tic re­sources will end by 2019, the State Coun­cil, China’s Cab­i­net, an­nounced on Thurs­day. Beijing Youth Daily com­ments:

In fact, China no­ti­fied the World Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion 10 days ear­lier that it would take emer­gency mea­sures to pro­hibit im­ports of 24 kinds of solid waste by the end of the year, in­clud­ing im­ports of house­hold plas­tic waste, vana­dium slag, un­sorted waste pa­per and waste tex­tile raw ma­te­ri­als.

The United Na­tions En­vi­ron­ment Pro­gramme is­sued the Basel Con­ven­tion on the Con­trol of Trans­bound­ary Move­ments of Haz­ardous Wastes and Their Dis­posal in 1989 to re­duce the move­ments of haz­ardous waste, specif­i­cally from de­vel­oped to less­de­vel­oped coun­tries, and en­sure the en­vi­ron­men­tally sound man­age­ment of waste as close as pos­si­ble to its source.

China’s de­ci­sion is fully in line with the prin­ci­ple and con­tent of the con­ven­tion.

This move, widely praised at home, is tes­ti­mony to the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment’s re­solve to trans­form the coun­try’s de­vel­op­ment model and pri­or­i­tize pro­tec­tion of the en­vi­ron­ment, ecol­ogy and tra­di­tional cul­ture.

The pro­cess­ing of for­eign waste has de­vel­oped into a lu­cra­tive in­dus­try in some places. But there is a

grow­ing so­cial con­sen­sus that the en­vi­ron­men­tal costs far out­weigh the rev­enues it cre­ates. It is there­fore nat­u­ral for the au­thor­i­ties to weed out the harm­ful in­dus­try.

There is plenty of ev­i­dence prov­ing that the pol­lu­tants and poi­sonous sub­stances that are re­leased in the pro­cess­ing of the im­ported waste can con­tam­i­nate the en­vi­ron­ment and en­ter the food chain of an­i­mals and hu­mans.

Ad­mit­tedly, much of the waste, called “mis­placed re­sources” by some, could be re­cy­cled and reused with the de­vel­op­ment of the nec­es­sary tech­nol­ogy, but this lags far be­hind the speed at which the world pro­duces th­ese solid wastes.

Pro­cess­ing the waste and ex­tract­ing the use­able ma­te­ri­als con­sume huge amounts of en­ergy, which in­creases car­bon emis­sions.

The ban pro­vides China with a good op­por­tu­nity to strengthen its sort­ing of waste and es­tab­lish a sys­tem that en­cour­age the waste pro­duc­ers, es­pe­cially com­pa­nies, to take part in waste dis­posal and re­cy­cling, so as to make bet­ter use of do­mes­tic waste and min­i­mize the en­vi­ron­men­tal dam­age it causes.

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