The 2018-20 action plan for implementation of the country's reform plan to ban waste imports and the 2018 action plan for inspections on pollution caused by processing imported waste were approved on Monday by the first executive meeting of the newly established Ministry of Ecology and Environment.
Workers check a load of imported leather scraps in Xiamen, Fujian province. LIN SHANCHUAN/Xinhua
洋垃圾（foreign garbage），指进口固体废物（imported solid waste），有时又特指以走私、夹带等方式进口国家禁止进口的固体废物（banned solid waste smuggled into China）或未经许可擅自进口属于限制进口的固体废物。
2017年7月18日，中国正式通知世界贸易组织，从2017年年底开始将不再接收外来垃圾，包括废弃塑胶（plastic waste）、纸类（paper waste）及纺织品（fabrics）等。
生态环境部有关负责人表示，禁止洋垃圾入境是党中央、国务院在新时期新形势下作出的一项重大决策部署，是我国生态文明建设的标志性举措（a landmark measure for the country's construction of an ecological civilization）。“要坚定不移、不折不扣地落实好这项工作。要着眼于推动高质量发展，统筹考虑行动方案目标任务，全面提升我国固体废物污染防治水平（improve China's capability in solid waste pollution control）。要加强部门间协调沟通，加大信息共享及联动执法力度，建立长效工作机制（a long-term working procedure featuring information sharing and coordinated law enforcement will be established）。要进一步完善监管制度，强化洋垃圾非法入境管控（the border controls on illegal foreign garbage will be intensified），深入实施全过程监管（the entire process in the industry will be inspected），确保各项任务落实到位。”
Q: According to reports, American officials expressed concerns over China's decision to stop imports of "foreign garbage" on March 23 at the WTO Council for Trade in Goods meeting, saying that China's import restrictions on recycled commodities have caused a fundamental disruption in global supply chains for scrap materials. China seemed to be violating WTO obligations, treating domestic and foreign garbage with discrimination and taking excessive trade restrictions. The US asked China to stop implementing relevant measures immediately. What's your comment?
A: During the Two Sessions this year, Minister of Environment Protection Li Ganjie already took relevant questions on "foreign trash". I would like to say that the so-called "concerns" of relevant US officials are unjustifiable, illegitimate and have no legal basis.
Prohibiting the imports of foreign garbage and reforming the management system of solid waste imports are a major measure the Chinese government has taken in order to follow through on the new concept of development, improve the ecological and environmental quality and safeguard national ecological security and the health of people. This is also a right China is entitled to under international law and has been firmly supported by the people. The US officials are so hypocritical as they try to make an issue out of China's legitimate and lawful actions and accuse China of "seemingly violating WTO obligations". How could they claim that their restrictions on its exports of high-tech and high value-added products to China are legitimate while China's lawful restrictions on its imports of foreign garbage are illegal?
In fact, the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal launched in the late 1980s fully confirms that all countries are entitled the right to prohibit foreign hazardous and other wastes from entering their territory. The Convention also stipulates that countries have the obligation to ensure that hazardous wastes and other wastes within it are minimumized and disposed as close as possible to their place of generation. We hope that the US side could focus on reducing, disposing and treating the hazardous wastes and other wastes it generated in accordance in the spirit of the Basel Convention and fulfill its due responsibilities and obligations for the world.