The port services of Northern China returned to the sender pyrite slag with a total weight of 498 thousand tons, which they tried to import into the country under the guise of iron ore raw materials. This is the largest amount of solid waste attempted to be smuggled into China, Tianjin Customs officials said.
The smuggled waste was seized and four suspects were arrested as part of a special campaign launched in June 2020.
Storing this solid waste would require a warehouse the size of five football fields, customs officer Miao Bin said Monday.
This waste, declared in the declaration as fines of iron ore, was intercepted during an inspection after the customs officers suspected it due to the pungent odor. In March 2020, part of the batch was sent for further laboratory analysis.
This solid waste was reported to have been returned to where it came from on seven ships over a five-month period starting in October 2020.
As a reminder, China has banned all solid waste imports from January 1, 2021.
China began importing solid waste as a source of raw materials in the 1980s and has been the world's largest importer for many years. With increasing public awareness of environmental protection and the country's transition to greener economic growth, China began phasing out solid waste imports in 2017.