Guest Blog | Why China Banned Waste Imports

A brief introduction of pollution prevention and ecological civilization construction in China, By Liu Jinghao, China Association of Urban Environmental Sanitation.


Mr. Liu Jinghao, is a senior engineer and member of China Association of Urban Environmental Sanitation (CAUES is ISWA’s National Member in China) expert committee amongst may other positions. Mr. Liu Jinghao has been engaged in environmental sanitation and municipal waste management related policy research, scientific research, standard compiling, development planning, technical consulting, project design for a long time, and is familiar with domestic and foreign municipal waste treatment technologies, policies and development status.


ISWA has talked extensively about the China recycling imports ban over the last year, but now it is important to hear from China about the reasons behind the ban and why there is a new emphasis on creating a clean environment the world’s most populous country.

9 Nov 2018 -

According to the requirements of the 19th national congress, preventing major risks, targeted poverty alleviation and pollution control will be the "three tough battles" over the next three years. It is clear that China has attached great importance to pollution prevention from a strategic heightpoint of view. China has implemented a "blue sky protection campaign”, “water protection campaign” and “soil protection campaign”, making every effort to protect the ecological environment.





China has made great achievements in pollution control, especially in the solid waste treatment sector. Over the past two decades, more than 1,800 sanitary landfills and 350 incineration plants have been built, 90% of the municipal waste treatment problems has been solved. In the past decade, over 60% of rural waste treatment problems have been solved through the promotion of waste collection in rural areas, and, the construction of integrated urban and rural waste management systems. Thus, the rural environment has been greatly improved substantially.

Meanwhile, China is facing up to the problem of waste in water. Similar to the marine waste, plastic is the source of the problem. China is carrying out “black and smelly water treatment campaign”, using PPP and other methods to increase treatment investment. In 2015, the State Council promulgated and implemented the Water Pollution Prevention and Control Action Plan, which calls for the Ministry of Housing, Urban and Rural Construction to take the lead, together with the Ministry of Environmental Protection, the Ministry of Water Resources, the Ministry of Agriculture and other ministries, to guide local governments to renovate black and smelly water. Moreover, on New Year’s Day 2017, President Xi issued an order in his New Year's congratulations that "every River should have a river chief". By the end of June 2018, the river chief system had been fully established in China, with more than 300,000 River chiefs at provincial, municipal, county and township levels, and more than 76,000 River chiefs at village level in 29 provinces. The river chiefs are responsible for river environment management.

China attaches great attention to the construction of ecological civilization. President Xi proposed the idea “Green Hills and Clear Waters are Gold & Silver Mountains” which requires the harmonious development of economy and ecological protection. China has actively carried out various measures, such as formulating policies and regulations, developing and innovating technologies, investing funds, promoting equipment manufacturing, building treatment facilities, and training operation professionals. Through all-round efforts, China has strived to do a good job in pollution control and make progress towards ecological civilization.

Combined with the background of pollution control in China, it makes sense for China to ban waste imports. China will not only improve its own environmental pollution control, but also join hands with other countries to improve global environment in the future.


Read More

Arne Ragossnig: Blog from the MD: China´s Ban on Plastic Waste Imports and EU`s Circular Economy Package – Call for Action

back to list