A nationwide action organized by China’s General Administration of Customs (GACC) was conducted on Dec. 19, 2017, according to Steve Wong, executive president of the China Scrap Plastics Association (CSPA) and chairman of Hong Kong-based Fukutomi Co. Ltd.
In an email to CSPA members, Wong says the Dec. 19 effort focused on the smuggling of materials deemed to be solid waste, yet often recycled into secondary plastics. “During this crackdown, 47 illegal operations were exposed, and 127 suspects were arrested,” he says. This was the fourth round of such inspections, which are referred to by the GACC and other Chinese agencies as “blue-sky actions.” The Dec. 19 action involved more than 1,770 people from 19 GACC offices in China, “creating the biggest action in terms of scale and scope,” according to Wong.
Inspections took place in 13 Chinese provinces and cities, including Hebei, Jiangsu, Liaoning and Zhejiang provinces and the cities of Guangzhou (including the port of Huangpu), Hangzhou, Nanjing, Shantou and Tianjin. More than 7,700 tons of plastic scrap and rubber and other materials were seized, and GACC has indicated that record books seized showed some 323,000 tons of “solid waste” having been smuggled.
According to Wong, GACC has arrested 421 suspects and set up 298 criminal prosecution cases in 2017, with 866,800 tons of what the agency considers to be solid waste involved in those cases.
An online article from Xinhua, China’s state news agency, quotes GACC spokesperson Huang Songping as saying the origin of the seized materials was unclear, but that the country will continue to block imports of “foreign garbage.”