China extends ban on waste imports

Shenzhen Customs destroying illegally imported waste during a raid at a port in Shenzhen, China, on Nov 17, 2016. China's State Council has released a list of 24 banned types of solid waste, including plastics, in a reform plan.

BEIJING (CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - China will ban the import of 32 types of solid waste, as part of its latest move to reduce environmental pollution, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment said on Thursday (April 19).

The ban on 16 types of solid waste, including scrap cars and boats, will take effect on Dec 31. Another 16 types of waste material, including stainless steel and wood, will be banned starting at the end of next year, the ministry said.

Since the 1980s, China has imported solid waste, including paper, plastic and scrap metal, as raw materials to make up for the domestic shortage of resources, and has for years been the world's largest importer of recyclable materials, which posed a danger to the environment and public health.

The State Council, China's Cabinet, released a reform plan for the management of imported solid waste in July that listed 24 banned types, including waste plastics, unsorted scrap paper, discarded textiles and vanadium slag. The rules were to take effect by the end of last year.

China has decided to phase out imports of solid waste that can be replaced by domestic sources by the end of next year.

A three-year plan that will run through 2020 was launched in March to step up the fight against pollution and environmental degradation.

An inspection campaign targeting enterprises was also unrolled, since many domestic companies process imported solid waste and discharge excessive or illegal pollutants into the air, water or soil.

In addition to the restrictions on importing solid waste, China intends to boost its domestic recycling business. By 2020, the amount of solid waste recycled in China will increase to 350 million metric tons, from 246 million tons in 2015.

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