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China to Tighten Control over Import of Electronic Wastes
China will tighten control over the entry of discarded electronic appliances from foreign nations in order to prevent environment pollution, according to the country's environment department.

State departments in charge of environmental protection, customs and quarantine will publish a detailed list of banned electronic wastes from overseas, which will include TV sets, kinescopes, computer displays, Xerox machines, video cameras and telephones, said an official with the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA).

Fears of hazards from such kind of wastes were aroused by recent incidents in south China's Guangdong Province, in which the coastal town of Guiyu suffered from contamination of river water as locals used improper methods to dispose of computer parts in a search for valuable metals.

Disassembly of used computers will not do harm to the environment unless the computer monitors are disposed using substandard methods, said Wang Ji, who is in charge of the local control of pollution from solid wastes and toxic chemicals.

But the problem in China is that many unlicensed workshops with poor facilities have joined the business of recycling electronic wastes, and they do not meet the state's strict processing standards, she said.

Law enforcement departments will close those illegal and highly polluting businesses, and will crack down on the smuggling of dangerous wastes, she added.

The SEPA official noted that some developing countries run the risk of becoming dumping grounds for electronic wastes from developed countries, though an international treaty on the control of border-crossing transfer of dangerous wastes has been widely accepted around the world.

Certain countries should strengthen control over the export of their electronic wastes to prevent it from being dumped in China, Wang said, adding that China's regulations on the import of electronic wastes should also be better known worldwide.

(People's Daily May 31, 2002)

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