China has confiscated more than 22,000 tonnes of imported waste as part of its clampdown on illegal shipments, according to an industry expert.
As previously reported by MRW, the country’s customs and excise department has launched a one-year joint campaign called National Sword 2017 focusing on ‘foreign waste’, agricultural products, resource products, tax-related goods, drugs, guns and other illegal smuggling activities.
Now writing for MRW, China Scrap Plastic Association chair Steve Wong says the clampdown was kicked off by the General Administration of Customs (GAC) on 7 February.
On 24 February, the GAC carried out nationwide action, targeting ports in Guangdong, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Huangpu, Qingdao, Tianjin, Ningbo, Shanghai and Nanjing.
This crackdown has so far resulted in 15 smuggling operations being exposed, the arrest of 90 suspects and confiscation of 22,100 tonnes of foreign waste including electronic, plastic and household materials.
Wong says the campaign will include checks on 100% of imported materials, potentially increasing UK exporters’ costs.
He says the country’s environmental protection department is conducting inspections of processing factories and is suspending recycling operations at facilities without proper water treatment.
“The future trend we believe will be to restrict imports of solid waste but allow non-polluting scraps such as recycled regrinds and pellets which can be used directly for production,” he says.
This enforcement action, which mirror’s the country’s Green Fence initiative in 2013, will become “the new normal”, he adds.