On September 1, 2020, China’s revised law on the Prevention and Control of Environmental Pollution in Solid Wastes (2020) Amendment) came into effect.
The amendment was adopted by the 17th meeting of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China on April 29, 2020. It has brought into effect several changes, both in terms of the management of solid waste and hazardous waste, and legal liability.
The changes relating to general solid waste management include:
1. Article 18 – construction employers must independently conduct inspections of facilities for the prevention and control of solid waste. Previously, these had been led by the local environmental protection department
2. Article 22 – inter-provincial solid waste transfer must now be reported to the relevant ecological and environmental authorities
3. Article 36 – ledgers must be established to enable traceability of solid waste. Also, the requirements for establishing and improving the whole process management system (generation to disposal) has been refined
4. Article 37 – requirements in terms of qualifications, technical abilities, joint-liability, contracts and verification when others are entrusted with transportation, utilization and disposal of solid waste
5. Article 38 – requirement added that units producing industrial solid waste should implement cleaner production audits according to law
6. Article 39 – requirement added to include industrial solid waste in the pollution discharge permit system for supervision
7. Article 48 – requirement added for the classification and placement of domestic waste
The changes relating to the management of hazardous waste include:
1. Article 78 – new requirements for hazardous waste generating units to establish a hazardous waste management ledger
2. Article 81 – clarification that units involved in collecting, storing, utilizing and disposing of hazardous waste shall not store this waste for more than one year. If longer storage is required, those responsible can apply for an extension
3. Article 82 – clarification of the requirements for completing and operating electronic or paper transfer forms for transferring hazardous waste
4. Article 99 – new units for collecting, storing, transporting, utilizing and disposing of hazardous waste must be insured for environmental pollution liability
The amendment also includes information on legal liabilities:
• Article 122 – new consultation system for compensation of solid waste environmental damage
o Generally increased
o New law enforcement measures – continuous penalties on a daily rate, administrative detention and seizure – also increased
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