Shanghai Customs has seized nearly 14,000 tons of solid wastes like plastic, slag and cotton from overseas since last year and 12 criminal cases related to the seizure have been filed, officials said.
In a case, details of which were released by the customs, 16 people involved in a waste smuggling racket were nabbed in December for using a license of a "legitimate" company to smuggle 11,000 tons of trash cotton. The cotton from countries, including Indonesia, Cambodia and Bangladesh, was processed into medical cotton by similar companies.
According to the customs, the owner of a local plastics company Hengyou, surnamed Jin, allowed Xu, an intermediary between licensed and unlicensed firms, to use his import license for solid waste. As a standard company, Hengyou has a limit on importing solid wastes every year and if the company failed to reach the import threshold, the limit would go down the next year, Jin told customs police. He was hoping Xu could help him to maintain the limit.
Xu, who got licenses from several companies like Hengyou, then used his intermediaries to sell the permits to some unlicensed firms.
To find the whereabouts of the waste cotton imported with Hengyou's license, customs police tracked its transport and later located the goods in two textile processing companies Xiongda and Chenguang in a county in Wenzhou City, neighboring Zhejiang Province. Workers claimed that the final product made from the waste cotton was cotton items for medical use.
Last year, local customs authorities launched a campaign, code-named Blue Sky, to crack down on smuggling of solid wastes. Waste smuggling cases are of two major types — one is importing wastes banned in China and the other is reselling solid wastes, which have import restrictions, to unlicensed companies, customs officials revealed.