China to reduce import quota ahead of solid waste ban

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China recycling inspections ports that solid waste
Chinese customs officials inspect waste materials

China has announced that it will reduce the import quota over the remainder of this year ahead of its solid waste ban.

In a question from news agency Reuters about reclassification of scrap metal at the monthly Ministry of Ecology and Environment press conference, spokesman Liu Youbin said: “Prohibiting the import of foreign garbage is a major decision and deployment made by the Party Central Committee and the State Council under the new situation in the new era, and is a landmark measure for the construction of ecological civilisation in my country. 

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“Since 2017, the reform work has been stable and orderly, and the types and quantities of solid waste imports have dropped significantly. 

“From January to May 2020, the national solid waste import volume was 3.226 million tonnes, a year-on-year decrease of 45.3%. In the second half of the year, our ministry will continue the approval mode of the first half of the year and further reduce the import of solid wastes, including scrap metal, according to the established plan. From 2021, China will ban the import of solid wastes, and our ministry will no longer accept and approve solid wastes import related applications.

“This year is the year of ending foreign garbage and advancing the reform of solid waste import management system. The newly revised Law on the Prevention and Control of Environmental Pollution by Solid Wastes will come into force on September 1, this year, clarifying the legal requirements for the identification of attributes of imported goods suspected of solid wastes, and the return and disposal of illegally imported solid wastes. The intensity of punishment for violation of laws provides legal protection for further promoting the reform of the import management system of solid waste.

“The Ministry of Ecology and Environment will continue to resolutely implement the decision-making and deployment of the Party Central Committee and the State Council in keeping with the relevant departments and regions, maintain the reform strategy, persevere, and consistently adhere to the same direction and strength, continue to significantly reduce the amount of solid waste imports, to ensure that by the end of 2020, we basically realise zero import of solid waste.”

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