China will soon launch nationwide inspections targeting the illegal transfer and dumping of waste, Zhou Zhiqiang, a senior official with China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) said at a press briefing today (11 May).
His comments came after officials in the eastern province of Jiangsu shut several chemical plants for the illegal dumping of waste water, according to reports by Reuters news agency.
“Local authorities have been focused only on air pollution and water pollution and have not paid attention to waste disposal,” Zhou said, urging local officials to improve waste disposal infrastructure and step up scrutiny.
The new inspection also showed that the environmental watchdog is expanding their reach beyond curbing emissions from the heavy industrial sectors.
The illegal disposal and storage of dangerous waste has become a widespread issue among chemical producers with reported cases more than doubling between 2015 and 2018, the ministry said.
Companies that cannot meet environmental standards for waste disposal should not be allowed to move into industrial parks, often where chemical plants are located, the MEE added.
Stock filings to the Shanghai Stock Exchange and the Shenzhen Exchange showed at least six publicly listed chemical producers halted production in the wake of a campaign against hazardous waste dumping in Jiangsu province.
The move is part of a nationwide crackdown on pollution, which has seen the country ban a number of waste materials being imported.