Chinese authorities seize over 500 tonnes of banned solid waste from Malaysia, Indonesia

China was once the recipient of millions of tonnes of foreign paper, plastic and scrap metal, but it started restricting deliveries last year.
China was once the recipient of millions of tonnes of foreign paper, plastic and scrap metal, but it started restricting deliveries last year. PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (XINHUA) - Ningbo customs in east China's Zhejiang province has seized a total of 523.7 tonnes of illegal solid waste, according to a statement by the General Administration of Customs.

The garbage was five batches of sub-standard polyester flakes from Malaysia and Indonesia, which are banned imports, the statement said.

It added that the solid waste had been handed over to related departments for processing.

China began importing solid waste as a source of raw materials in the 1980s, and for years has been the world's largest importer, despite its weak capacity for garbage disposal.

Some companies illegally bring foreign waste into the country for profit, posing a threat to the environment and public health.

Given rising public awareness of environmental protection and China's green development drive, the government decided to phase out and halt such imports by the end of 2019, except for those containing resources that are not substitutable.

The government announced plans last year to ban 32 types of solid waste including plastics and paper, and has imposed tough quality restrictions on other recyclable materials.