BEIJING (Scrap Monster): According to media reports, Chinese Customs authorities intend to introduce fresh regulations to restrict waste imports into the country. The initiative named ‘National Sword 2017’ will target imported scrap materials with special focus on illegal shipment of industrial waste, electronics waste, plastics and other solid waste. The one-year long campaign would be launched by the country’s Customs Department in co-operation with the Excise Department.
According to Government website, the initiative will also cover agricultural materials and resource products including coal. It also intends to tighten rules and actions to prevent illegal smuggling acts involving tax-related goods, drugs and guns. Adequate steps will be implanted to intercept suspicious ‘foreign garbage’ outside the country, thereby ensuring ecological and environmental security and health of its citizens. The ‘National Sword 2017’ initiative will work in co-operation with Department of Environmental Protection and all other relevant departments and local industry associations.
Several international recycling organizations have issued alert to its member companies to be extremely watchful in their shipments to countries including China. According to BIR, the campaign is likely to impact waste exports to China. The BIR press release extended support to all efforts to curb illegal activities of smuggling solid waste. It also noted that a detailed report on activities of its member companies and national associations have already been handed over to Chinese Customs authorities and other agencies including the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) and Ministry for the Environment Protection (MEP).
China is considered as the world’s largest waste importer, with intake of nearly 50 million tons of waste every year. The yearly statistics for 2012 indicates that the country imported a total of 28 million tons of waste paper and around 14 million tons of scrap metal. In 2011, the country’s metal and paper scrap imports from the US alone totaled $10.8 billion. According to Chinese authorities, the recently exported solid waste are poorer in quality and are found to contain increased levels of contaminants. The country had recently banned imports of seven different kinds of solid waste, on fears of environmental pollution.
Earlier in 2013, China had implemented “Operation Green Fence”, in an attempt to improve the quality of imported raw materials through enhanced inspection procedures. It had implemented the regulations enacted in 2011 to prevent pollution of the environment caused by seepage, leakage or other measures. As part of ‘Operation Green Fence’ all incoming containers loaded with recyclables were subjected to rigorous inspections. Consequently nearly 22,000 containers carrying substandard material that are unqualified for import were identified. As per sources, “Operation Green Fence” had rejected all bales containing more than 1.5% contamination.