China MEP passed the Draft Inventory of Hazardous Waste

  •   6 May 2016
  •    Matt Lu

    Takehome:

    • Inventory of Hazardous Waste is revised
    • An exemption list is added
    • New Inventory will include more hazardous chemicals

    The National Inventory of Hazardous Waste was originally published in 2008 to regulate solid and semi-solid wastes that pose hazardous risks to the environment and human beings. During the implementation of the Inventory, a lot of problems emerged and hindered the enforcement authorities. As a result, the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) started the revision of the Inventory from 2013 and published a draft version in 2014. On March 30th 2016, MEP passed the latest version of the draft Inventory in principle and decided to publish the draft Inventory with other competent authorities later.

    The 2008 version of the Inventory was a more detailed revision of its predecessor which was issued in 1998. It contains more information than the 1998 version and the hazardous properties of each hazardous waste were specified. In order to offer a strong disincentive for violations of hazardous waste disposal regulations an additional document was implemented from June 2013. According to this document, the enterprises that discharge, dump or disposal more than 3 tons of hazardous wastes illegally would be accused of “polluting the environment severely” and face criminal legal actions. This is a rather strict approach and in Shandong Province alone, 601 violations were found in 2014.

    However, the 2008 version didn’t classify the hazardous risk levels of the wastes and treated them with the same. This lead to misallocation of law enforcement resources and made the implementation ineffective. Some research results estimate that 70% of the hazardous wastes weren’t handled properly. The reality called for a more targeted enforcement approach with priorities and spending the resources on wastes with higher hazardous risks.

    Therefore, the latest draft decided to regulate some hazardous waste with higher priorities. On the other hand, some lower risk hazardous wastes are exempted during certain stages of their lifecycle where the risks are relatively acceptable, such as transportation, collection, etc. The wastes exempted on certain stages are listed in an exemption list, with detailed requirements. Waste resin sand, waste leather containing chromium, leaded glass of cathode-ray tubes and other wastes are included.

    Beside the exemption list, there are two other major changes in the draft Inventory:

    • The hazardous wastes are reduced from 49 classifications to 46 classifications. The former HW 06, HW41 and HW42 are combined as HW06 (waste organic solvents). The former HW43 and HW44 are deleted. And HW50 (waste catalysts) is newly added.
    • The 2008 version only included the toxic chemicals. But the draft plans to include the chemicals with all hazardous properties. In another word, the draft Inventory plans to include the whole Inventory of Hazardous Chemicals published by the State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS).

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