China launches Blue Sky 2018 to inspect waste imports

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A new programme of inspections of waste imports has been launched by Chinese customs authorities.

Blue Sky 2018 will run from March to December and replaces last year’s National Sword regime. Previously, the Chinese Government had also launched the Green Fence series of inspections.

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In particular, Blue Sky 2018 will focus on the 24 categories of materials that were added to the prohibited list late last year including bans on almost all plastics, apart from post-manufacturing polymers, and mixed paper.

The General Administration of Customs said that it will crack down on “smuggling of foreign rubbish” by means of false reports of concealed products.

During the nine-month programme, Blue Sky 2018 will also focus on strict control on the imports of waste with contamination limits of 0.5% on most still permitted materials introduced from the beginning of this month.

Since the beginning of the year, customs authorities have been expanding investigations into illegal waste imports, with 69 cases of smuggling rubbish identified as of 27 February. More than 50,000 tonnes of material were inspected of waste plastics and waste paper and arrests have been made.

At the same time as the announcement of Blue Sky 2018, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang announced that the country will completely ban imports of solid waste. See here for more.

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