BEIJING, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) -- China's imports of solid waste have continued to drop amid the country's green development drive, and a sweeping ban on such imports will take effect from the beginning of next year.
As of Nov. 15, China had imported 7.18 million tonnes of solid waste this year, down 41 percent year on year, said Qiu Qiwen, an official with the Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE), on Monday.
The plunge is consistent with the downward momentum seen since late 2017 when the State Council, China's cabinet, tightened curbs on solid waste imports. The figures for the previous three years stood at 42.27 million tonnes, 22.63 million tonnes and 13.48 million tonnes, respectively.
According to a notice issued recently by the MEE, the Ministry of Commerce, and the General Administration of Customs, China will ban all imports of solid waste from Jan. 1, 2021. The dumping, stacking and disposal of waste products from abroad on Chinese territory will also be banned.
Any violation of the ban will be severely punished, according to Qiu.
China began importing solid waste as a source of raw materials in the 1980s and for years has been the world's largest importer, despite its limited garbage disposal capacity. Some companies illegally brought foreign waste into the country for profit, posing a threat to the environment and public health.