China's hazardous waste treatment market is estimated to reach more than 200 billion yuan ($29 billion) by 2020 but the domestic hazardous waste treatment capacity is lagging far behind, with only 15 percent of hazardous waste being effectively treated at present, experts said.
Chen Ying, deputy head of the soil environment management office at the Solid Waste and Chemicals Management Center under China's Ministry of Environmental Protection, said at a recent forum that China produces around 40 million tons of industrial hazardous waste each year and part of the waste is not treated properly, which will lead to long-term environmental risks, the Economic Information reported on Monday.
Hazardous waste refers to industrial waste, medical waste and other waste from daily life, and hazardous waste treatment is a new industry which covers different sectors and areas.
Pan Gong, an expert from the E20 Environmental Platform, told the Global Times on Monday that only 15 percent of China's hazardous waste is treated properly, including landfill and incineration with national waste treatment licenses.
"The other 85 percent of the hazardous waste is not treated properly and most of the waste is disposed of just like normal rubbish and stored in a normal way, which poses a great threat to the environment," said Pan, adding that the amount of the actual hazardous waste may reach 80 million to 100 million tons each year.
By 2015, the designed capacity to treat hazardous waste was 5,263 tons and over 2,000 licenses were granted to factories or companies.
However, the actual treatment capacity was merely 1,536 tons and more than 60 percent of the declared hazardous waste was not treated properly, according to the report.
"One reason for the waste treatment gap is that domestic waste treatment factories with licenses do not operate 24 hours a day, and some old equipment in these factories cannot reach the national standards, which is also why a large proportion of hazardous waste is not treated properly," said Pan.
"The factories which produce hazardous waste are usually small and scattered in different areas, making it difficult for the government to manage them in a centralized way," said Pan.
Statistics show that 99 percent of the hazardous waste treatment entities are private enterprises in China and the average waste treatment capacity of 2,000 enterprises or factories is merely 20,000 tons, according to the report.
"The top 10 waste treatment enterprises in China only account for 6.8 percent of the domestic market share," said Pan.