China's top environmental regulator has pledged to impose a more wide-ranging ban on imports of solid waste into the country by the end of the year.
The Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) said that China would urgently ban the imports of 24 kinds of solid waste by the end of 2017, including highly polluted waste such as waste plastics, vanadium slag, unsorted waste paper and textile waste, The Beijing News reported Thursday.
"The imported solid waste pollutes the environment and damages people's health," said Guo Jing, director general of the Department of International Cooperation of the MEP, at a press conference on Thursday, The Beijing News reported.
China signed the Basel Convention in 1990, which stipulates that exports of hazardous wastes must gain approval of authorities of the importing countries. "But many businessmen in China have illegally imported highly polluted solid waste for their own benefit," Guo said.
"Even though many countries have placed strict control on waste, the problem of some developed countries transferring solid waste and even hazardous waste to developing countries has never stopped," said Wang Shuyi, director of the Environment Law Research Institute at Wuhan University.
Inspectors sent by the MEP have found environmental violations by imported-waste processing firms, according to a notice the MEP sent to the Global Times on Wednesday.
As of Monday, irregularities were found in 751 companies nationwide, or 65 percent of the total firms inspected, according to the notice.
Several government agencies of China, including the MEP, the General Administration of the Customs and the Ministry of Public Security have carried out campaigns to enhance the monitoring and limit imported waste, according to a document China sent to the World Trade Organization on Tuesday, news site thepaper.cn reported.
"A huge amount of highly polluted waste, or even dangerous waste, has been mixed in the solid waste of recyclable materials, causing serious pollution in China," it said.
China is stepping up its fight against pollution and environmental degradation resulting from decades of fast growth. A reform plan to improve the management of solid waste imports was adopted in April, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Monday.