SHANGHAI, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- China investigated a total of 412 criminal cases related to solid waste smuggling and arrested 576 suspects on such charges in the first ten months of this year, according to the General Administration of Customs (GAC) Tuesday.
The GAC investigated a total of 1.46 million tonnes of solid waste during the January-October period, data shows.
China also cooperated with other countries, regions as well as global and regional organizations, including the World Customs Organization, the United Nations Environment Programme and the International Criminal Police Organization, to curb solid waste smuggling in a global joint action plan between May 21 and July 23.
"It's a shared responsibility for all countries and regions to crack down on cross-border smuggling of solid waste," said Ni Yuefeng, head of the GAC, adding that the action plan demands long-term and continuous efforts.
The Chinese government is also set to introduce a new and tightened ban on solid waste imports effective from Dec. 31, 2018, with 32 types of solid waste due to be banned. The newly-added products include hardware, ships, auto parts, waste, stainless steel scraps, titanium and wood.
China's imports of solid waste slumped further in the first 10 months of 2018 as the government stepped up enforcement of a ban on solid waste imports.
The country began importing solid waste as a source of raw materials in the 1980s and for years has been the world's largest importer, despite having a weak capacity in garbage disposal. But some companies began illegally bringing foreign waste into the country for profit, posing a threat to the environment and public health.
Given increasing public awareness of environment issues and China's green development drive, the government last year decided to phase out and halt such imports by the end of 2019, except for those containing resources not substitutable.