Chinese customs launched an orchestrated action Friday against solid waste smuggling in the latest move to curb the inflow of "overseas trash" and protect the environment.
The action busted 62 smuggling groups, led to the arrest of 243 suspects and seized nearly 600,000 tonnes of smuggled solid waste, according to the General Administration of Customs (GAC).
This was the fourth such action GAC has taken this year as the country intensified its crackdown on solid waste smuggling, and a total of 1.45 million tonnes of solid waste have been seized, the GAC said on its website.
Chinese customs are also working on the return or disposal of the seized solid waste. A total of 116,000 tonnes of slag have been returned by customs of Nanjing and Gongbei, it said.
For some years, China has been the world's largest importer of solid waste, with some as raw materials. Given growing public awareness of environmental protection, the government decided last year to phase out and completely halt such imports by the end of 2019, except for those containing resources that are not substitutable.
Because of the ban, imports of solid waste in the first eight months of the year slumped 56.8 percent from one year earlier.