China launches Blue Sky 2018 to replace National Sword

Chinese customs authorities have launched a new waste imports inspections program – Blue Sky 2018.

It runs from March to December 2018 and replaces China’s National Sword program, which ran last year and was preceded by Green Fence.

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Blue Sky 2018’s attention is on the 24 categories of solid waste added to the list of imports bans in 2017, which includes plastics waste, unsorted waste paper and waste textile materials with a contaminant level of more than 0.5 per cent.

A spokesperson for the General Administration of Customs, Zhang Guangzhi, told that it is fully committed to “investigating a number of large-scale smuggling cases of wastes, eradicating a number of smuggling gangs and cutting off a number of smuggling routes and chains of rubbish, and resolutely blocking ‘foreign rubbish’.”

During the operation, the Customs and Excise Department will also reportedly work with the relevant local authorities to promote “comprehensive anti-smuggling work in a concerted manner”.

Mr Guangzhi said that customs would strengthen its links with relevant law enforcement departments, including environmental protection and quality inspection to stop illegal operations and “foreign garbage” shops, with this process coordinated by local government.