Re­cy­cle, don’t dump solid waste else­where

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT -

Of­fi­cials of the Min­istry of Ecol­ogy and En­vi­ron­ment said at a news con­fer­ence on Tues­day that China will ban all im­ports of solid waste from the be­gin­ning of 2021. Ear­lier, in 2018, China had banned im­ports of solid waste harm­ful to the en­vi­ron­ment.

The to­tal im­ports of solid waste in the first five months of this year to­taled 3.2 mil­lion tons, 45.3 per­cent lower than in the same pe­riod in 2019.

The move to re­duce it to zero is likely to see op­po­si­tion from cer­tain Western coun­tries. After the par­tial ban in 2018, videos went vi­ral show­ing waste piled up in the United States and Aus­tralia and com­ments blam­ing China for be­ing “self­ish”.

This time, too, some peo­ple have blamed China’s ban for ris­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal pol­lu­tion in Western coun­tries.

How­ever, why should China be a solid waste pro­ces­sor for Western na­tions? Why should it ac­cept waste from the West at the cost of its own en­vi­ron­ment? Don’t the Chi­nese peo­ple have a right to en­joy clean wa­ter, air and en­vi­ron­ment like their coun­ter­parts in the West?

One way out is for Western coun­tries to re­cy­cle their waste, some­thing China has been do­ing with in­creas­ing vigor lately.

It is a com­mon prac­tice for en­ter­prises to re­cy­cle used pa­per, sav­ing re­sources such as wa­ter and wood.

About 70 per­cent of the pa­per used in China now is re­cy­cled pa­per; 36 per­cent of the re­cy­cled pa­per was be­ing im­ported till 2017. How­ever, with the do­mes­tic garbage sorting sys­tem im­prov­ing, more used pa­per can be re­cy­cled do­mes­ti­cally, sav­ing the cost of im­port.

In­stead of blam­ing China or find­ing a new place to dump solid waste, Western coun­tries could con­sider im­prov­ing their recycling in­dus­try. — ZHANG ZHOUXIANG, CHINA DAILY

JIN DING / CHINA DAILY

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