Crack­down leads to less for­eign waste, smug­gling

China Daily European Weekly - - China News - By HOU LIQIANG HU MEIDONG Con­tact the writ­ers at [email protected]­

The minister of China’s top en­vi­ron­ment watch­dog vowed to fur­ther crack down on waste smug­gling and ac­cel­er­ate le­gal changes to strengthen man­age­ment, as waste im­ports to the coun­try de­creased by over 50 per­cent this year.

As of Nov 15, the coun­try im­ported about 18.6 mil­lion met­ric tons of solid waste, Li Gan­jie, also head of a cross-min­istry team for re­form­ing waste im­port man­age­ment, said in a meet­ing of the team on Nov 29.

It was the first meet­ing of the group, ac­cord­ing to a me­dia re­lease from the Min­istry of Ecol­ogy and En­vi­ron­ment.

“The work of ban­ning for­eign garbage and the re­form for solid waste man­age­ment has en­tered a deep-wa­ter zone and is fac­ing more com­pli­cated sit­u­a­tions,” said Li, ac­cord­ing to the re­lease.

Li vowed to pro­mote changes to the Law on the Preven­tion and Control of En­vi­ron­men­tal Pol­lu­tion by Solid Waste to of­fer le­gal guar­an­tees for the ban and the re­form.

He also called for strength­en­ing the control on for­eign waste smug­gling and pro­mot­ing var­i­ous cam­paigns to crack down on such il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ties. In ad­di­tion to in­ten­si­fy­ing the mon­i­tor­ing of the en­tire waste im­port process, a spe­cial law en­force­ment cam­paign will tar­get en­ter­prises that process for­eign trash, he said.

The con­struc­tion of a do­mes­tic waste col­lect­ing and re­cy­cling sys­tem should be ac­cel­er­ated with more com­plete in­fra­struc­ture and sound re­cy­cling stan­dards, he noted.

The meet­ing was at­tended by at least 15 gov­ern­ment bod­ies, in­clud­ing the Gen­eral Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Cus­toms and the Na­tional De­vel­op­ment and Re­form Com­mis­sion, all mem­bers of the cross-min­istry group.

Hu Hua­long, deputy di­rec­tor of the Min­istry of Ecol­ogy and En­vi­ron­ment’s Solid Waste and Chem­i­cals Man­age­ment Cen­ter, said the draft of the amended law on solid waste in­cludes “ex­tended pro­ducer re­spon­si­bil­ity”, which is be­ing pi­loted for re­frig­er­a­tors, air con­di­tion­ers, wash­ing ma­chines and com­put­ers.

It is de­signed to in­te­grate the en­vi­ron­men­tal costs as­so­ci­ated with prod­ucts through­out their life cy­cles into the goods’ mar­ket price.

Un­der the pilot pro­gram, man­u­fac­tur­ers con­trib­ute to a fund to sub­si­dize 109 en­ter­prises that dis­man­tle e-waste. From 2012 to 2017, 7.7 mil­lion met­ric tons of the waste was dis­man­tled. The pro­gram is ex­pected to soon cover print­ers, Hu told the fo­rum in Fuzhou, Fu­jian prov­ince.

The Min­istry of Ecol­ogy and En­vi­ron­ment es­tab­lished a spe­cial depart­ment on solid waste and chem­i­cals in Septem­ber.

The move shows the in­creas­ing im­por­tance China has at­tached to solid waste man­age­ment and will play a sig­nif­i­cant role in strength­en­ing the gov­er­nance, said Mei Fengqiao, an as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor of en­vi­ron­men­tal man­age­ment at Pek­ing Univer­sity.

The State Coun­cil, China’s cab­i­net, has adopted a set of mea­sures to counter air, wa­ter and soil pol­lu­tion. Solid waste gov­er­nance is highly re­lated to these kinds of pol­lu­tion, Mei said.

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