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July 28, 2017

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No more room for foreign garbage

CHINA said yesterday that “foreign garbage” will be entirely banned from entering the country as authorities plan stricter management on solid waste imports.

By the end of the year, imports of solid waste that cause great environmental damage and raise strong public concerns will be forbidden, according to a plan on solid waste import management released by the State Council.

By the end of 2019, the country will phase out imports of solid waste that can be replaced by domestic resources, the plan said.

The plan comes after China notified the World Trade Organization last week that it will ban imports of 24 types of solid waste, including waste plastic, unsorted scrap paper, discarded textiles and vanadium slag by the end of the year.

China began to import solid waste as raw materials to make up for a domestic shortage in the 1980s, but some companies illegally smuggled foreign garbage into the country, damaging the environment and public health.

China will gradually reduce the categories and amount of solid waste imports and raise the import threshold, under the plan.

Border control on foreign garbage will be intensified, and severe punishment imposed on the reselling and illegal processing of imported waste.

A long-term mechanism will be established to keep foreign garbage out, while international cooperation on returns will be enhanced.

The government is stepping up the fight against pollution and environmental degradation as decades of growth have left the country saddled with smog and contaminated soil.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection launched a monthlong campaign on July 1 to crack down on pollution in imported waste processing, with 420 inspectors from 27 provincial regions forming 60 teams to conduct investigations.

China’s medium and large-sized cities imported 46.98 million tons of solid waste in 2015, down 5.3 percent year on year, according to ministry figures. In 2014, the whole country imported 49.6 million tons of solid waste, the bulk of it scrap paper, plastics and metal, according to the ministry.


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