China to ‘gradually’ introduce measures to ban import of foreign recyclable material

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Li Ganjie at the 13th National People's Congress recently

Chinese Environment Minister Li Ganjie has said that the country will take a ‘gradual’ approach to reducing the import of foreign solid waste.

The renamed Minister of Ecological Protection said in a press conference that his department, previously known as the Ministry of Environmental Protection, had found in inspections last year that 60% of the 1,792 import enterprises inspected had brought illegal waste into China.

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He added that the country implemented the bans on plastic and mixed paper, and tighter restrictions on other materials this year, and “further measures or adjustment would be taken gradually”.

Last year, the Chinese Government announced that it intends to replace imports of recyclable material with domestic sources where possible by the end of 2019.

In his press conference at the end of last week’s 13th National Congress, the Minister said that restricting the import of foreign waste materials was a way to improve the environment and people’s health in China.

He also said that as a signatory to the Basel Convention, it was within China’s rights to prevent the import of waste that it sees as hazardous to health.

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