China to launch toughest crackdown yet on illegally imported waste

Updated 2018-03-08 10:14:01

China will launch a special campaign against illegally imported waste in 2018, which experts believe will be harsher than last year's as the country boosts efforts to drive green growth.

During the 2018 campaign, the General Administration of Customs (GAC) will target illegal smuggling of imported waste that is concealed and brought in through land or maritime customs.

The GAC said the campaign aims to crack down on smuggling cases, waste import groups and their channels, in a firm bid to prevent foreign waste from coming into the country.

The campaign will be jointly conducted by environmental protection and quality inspection departments. Waste sites that operate without permission or are illegal will be targeted.

Liu Jianguo, a professor specializing in solid waste management at Tsinghua University, told the Global Times on Wednesday that the crackdown on imported waste will be harsher and the volume of illegal waste will be significantly reduced in 2018.

"The move is a result of the country's effort to increase environmental protection awareness and reform of its economic structure," said Liu.

China banned imports of 24 types of solid waste in 2017, including plastic waste, unsorted paper waste and crude textile waste, to protect the public from hazardous materials being mixed in with recycled materials, Xinhua News Agency reported.

Imported solid waste, which had been useful as raw materials in the past, have become surplus to requirements over the years, especially when China is emphasizing the need to cut overcapacity, Liu told the Global Times.

It has also caused damage to the country's environment and public health, an official from the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) said.

China's medium-sized and large cities imported 46.98 million tons of solid waste in 2015, down 5.3 percent year on year, according to MEP figures.

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