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Massive plastic scam uncovered
(China Daily)
Updated: 2004-04-06 22:05

More than 4,000 tons of smuggled waste plastics that the Qingdao Customs office seized last week will be shipped back to Japan after a local court tries suspects in the case, said a Customs official Tuesday.

Tang Guang, a customs official, said the plastic does not meet China's national environmental protection standards for imported foreign waste and will not be allowed to be recycled.

The case was initially uncovered by a local farmer who found the trash he had bought was solid waste that could not be reused. He reported it to local Customs who seized the waste wrapped in more than 10,000 bags. After two days of investigation, all the main suspects involved in the case were arrested.

The official said that the solid trash was smuggled from Japan in batches starting last December by a local environmental protection engineering company. Smugglers put waste plastics that would meet State standards on top of the trash but hid the substandard foreign waste at the bottom.

Tang said China does not oppose importing limited amounts of foreign garbage if the wastes meet standards. Such legal imports do not contradict the country's policy for protection of the country's ecological environment and natural resources. But imports of substandard wastes and smuggling of foreign wastes that will harm the country's environment are forbidden.

Tang said Qingdao Customs had made great efforts in uncovering smuggling. Last year, it seized some 400 tons of illegal foreign garbage in 20 containers from three separate incidents. They were delivered from the United States and South Korea.

To fight smuggling,Customs set up a special team to supervise the import of foreign waste paper and waste plastics last July.

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