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Government Plans for Electronic Garbage
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China is speeding up efforts to formulate regulations on the collection and disposal of electronic garbage, an official at the National Development and Reform Commission said yesterday.

"The State Council has made the regulations a priority in its administrative legislation plan for 2006," said the official, who identified himself only as Guan.

However, he added that it was still too early to say when the Regulation on Reclaiming and Disposing of Waste or Used Home Appliances and Electronic Products would be completed.

"The regulation will improve the nation's system for reclaiming and disposing of electronic garbage such as TV sets, refrigerators and computers," Guan said. "It'll promote recycling of resources as well as protect the environment."

The regulation is expected to encourage the development of enterprises specializing in the reclamation and disposal of electronic garbage. These firms would have to pass national qualification tests and obtain licenses.

Under the soon-to-be formulated regulations, manufacturers and distributors of home appliances as well as after-service providers will be obliged to reclaim waste and used products and then sell them to licensed disposal enterprises.

Consumers will have to turn over or sell electronic garbage to distributors or disposal enterprises. The new regulations will ban unlicensed purchasing and selling of electronic waste. 

Wang Yukui, secretary general of the China Home Appliances Maintenance Association, said professional disposal enterprises would play a pivotal role in solving the problem of electronic garbage.

Many professional disposal enterprises in China were currently facing an insufficient supply of goods due to competition from small operations, said Wang. 

"Due to a lack of governmental supervision and relevant laws or regulations, a huge amount of electronic garbage has flowed into shabby private workshops, which make poor use of the garbage and cause much pollution," Wang said.

Statistics show that China discards about 5 million TV sets, 4 million refrigerators, 6 million washing machines and 10 million mobile phones every year.

The State Environmental Protection Administration recently admitted that electronic garbage from developed countries was still illegally entering some coastal provinces. China officially banned the import of electronic garbage in 2002.

(China Daily November 13, 2006)

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