Limiting imports of waste a key measure for ecological protection, says minister

China has the right to limit and ban the imports of foreign garbage, as the country is stepping up efforts to protect the ecological environment, said a Chinese minister on Saturday.

During a press conference held on the sidelines of the annual meeting of the National People's Conference, the country's top legislature, Li Ganjie, Chinese minister of environmental protection, said that limiting and banning the imports of solid waste from foreign countries was a significant measure taken by China to protect its ecosystem and people, which is in line with the spirit of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, an international treaty, which was created in the 1980s to reduce the movements of hazardous wastes between nations.

China is a contracting party to the treaty, which stipulates that nations are granted the right to ban importing foreign dangerous waste from entering their territories and that the garbage exporters must make sure their garbage will do no harm to the receivers' environment and public health, said Li.

On January 1, 2018, China issued an all-out ban on the imports of foreign waste as a result of a plan which the State Council unveiled in 2017 to strengthen the management of solid waste imported from foreign countries.

The volume of China's imported rubbish has increased by 20 times to 45 million tons since the beginning of the 1980s when China started importing foreign waste, Li said, adding that it has caused damage to the country's environment.

In July, 2017, the Ministry of Environment Protection launched an inspection campaign, in which 60 percent of the inspected enterprises, or 1,074 enterprises, were found importing prohibited waste, noted Li. The result prompted the government to reconsider adjusting the category list of the imported waste, added Li.

Li also said that China had informed the related international organizations including the World Trade Organization of the ban on imported waste.

Li hoped that all the countries could stick to the spirit of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal and should dispose their rubbish within their territories.

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