Solid waste control stressed

China needs to prioritize the tackling of solid waste pollution and strengthen supervision over implementation of related law, the country’s top legislature said on Tuesday.

The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress conducted inspections this year on the enforcement of the law on solid waste pollution for the first time since 2005, when the revised law took effect. The inspections were finished by the end of August.

Inspection teams headed by top national legislators including Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, visited 10 areas including Tianjin, Shanxi and Jiangsu provinces. Legislators and leaders of the ministries involved discussed the results at a meeting on Tuesday.

Zhang acknowledged achievements in preventing and tackling solid waste nationwide in recent years. The teams also found problems that cause environmental and health risks, he said.

Problems arise from the large quantity of solid waste, from industrial and agricultural sources, inspections showed.

Solid waste controls should be given priority, along with other pollution reduction efforts, Zhang said, because it is closely linked with air, water and soil pollution.

The national legislative body will urge governments to enforce the law, he said, since the inspections’ results suggest that governments need to improve their procedures to make the prevention efforts work efficiently and scientifically.

Shanxi, one of the inspected provinces, has strengthened controls in reducing solid waste by building more plants to process industrial waste, helping the province, China’s coal heartland, improve its environmental quality.

In 2016, 66.1 percent of the solid waste from industrial production, like fly ash and coal refuse, has been processed, for an increase of 44.1 percentage points over the level in 2005, when the revised law took effect, said He Tiancai, vice-governor of Shanxi, in a briefing about the control efforts a week ago.

Over 123 million metric tons of solid waste was processed last year in multiple ways, said Zhang Zhanxiang, deputy director of the Shanxi Provincial Economic and Information Committee.

For example, fly ash, mainly discharged from coal-fired power plants, has been used to make construction materials like autoclaved bricks and cement, Zhang Zhanxiang said. He added that cement production could consume 9 to 11 million tons annually.

Shanxi plans to increase the processing rate for solid waste to 70 percent by the end of 2020 in order to tackle the pollution from solid waste and protect human health, He, the vice-governor, said.