BEIJING, Dec. 19 (Xinhua) -- China's customs authority seized 91,600 tonnes of illegal trash imports Wednesday in its latest round of crackdown against "foreign garbage."
The smuggled trash included waste plastics and mineral residue, the General Administration of Customs (GAC) said in a statement.
Nearly 857 customs officers in 11 provincial regions including Guangdong and Tianjin detained 129 suspects and broke up 38 smuggling rings during the action.
It was the fifth round of crackdown on trash smuggling launched by the GAC this year. So far, 718 suspects from 202 smuggling rings have been detained, with evidence of more than 1.55 million tonnes of illegal solid waste imports found.
China began importing solid waste as a source of raw materials in the 1980s and for years has been the world's largest importer, despite its weak capacity in garbage disposal. Some companies illegally bring foreign garbage into the country for profit, posing a threat to the environment and public health.
Given rising public awareness and a green development drive, the government decided last year to phase out and completely halt such imports by the end of 2019, except for those containing resources that are not substitutable.