Recycle, don't dump solid waste elsewhere
Officials of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment said at a news conference on Tuesday that China will ban all imports of solid waste from the beginning of 2021. Earlier, in 2018, China had banned imports of solid waste harmful to the environment.
The total imports of solid waste in the first five months of this year totaled 3.2 million tons, 45.3 percent lower than in the same period in 2019.
The move to reduce it to zero is likely to see opposition from certain Western countries. After the partial ban in 2018, videos went viral showing waste piled up in the United States and Australia and comments blaming China for being "selfish".
This time, too, some people have blamed China's ban for rising environmental pollution in Western countries.
However, why should China be a solid waste processor for Western nations? Why should it accept waste from the West at the cost of its own environment? Don't the Chinese people have a right to enjoy clean water, air and environment like their counterparts in the West?
One way out is for Western countries to recycle their waste, something China has been doing with increasing vigor lately.
It is a common practice for enterprises to recycle used paper, saving resources such as water and wood.
About 70 percent of the paper used in China now is recycled paper; 36 percent of the recycled paper was being imported till 2017. However, with the domestic garbage sorting system improving, more used paper can be recycled domestically, saving the cost of import.
Instead of blaming China or finding a new place to dump solid waste, Western countries could consider improving their recycling industry.