China Unveils Plan to Cut Dioxin Emissions From 17 Industries Over Next Five Years

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SHENZHEN, China--Nine Chinese government ministries and agencies will work together to cut emissions of dioxins by 10 percent in several industries by the end of 2015, the Ministry of Environmental Protection said Nov. 9.

The ministry said the effort will help China fulfill commitments made under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), which the country ratified in 2004.

Under the program, businesses in 17 industries involved in the production of iron, steel, and nonferrous metals as well as in waste incineration and recycling will be required to install emissions control devices on exhaust systems by the end of June.

Each industry will be required to undergo yearly audits and to report dioxin emissions levels to provincial and municipal environmental protection departments.

The effort to reduce dioxins--which have been characterized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as likely carcinogens--will be furthered by closing outdated production facilities and by factoring in considerations about future emissions when environmental impact assessments are conducted for new facilities, according to a document released by the ministry Nov. 9.

Businesses will be encouraged to use exhaust gas recirculation systems and gas purification facilities, to adopt other advanced technologies to reduce dioxin emissions, and to use materials in processing that emit less dioxin.

Higher standards and supervision of waste incineration and recycling industries will also be promoted and preference will be given to new incineration facilities that use the best technologies available. Waste incineration and recycling facilities will be required to undergo dioxin emissions testing by environmental protection bureaus in their jurisdiction once each quarter.

The plans will be implemented gradually, starting in Beijing, Tianjin, and the Yangtze River and Pearl River delta regions, the ministry said.

Growing amounts of solid waste and shrinking landfill capacity have forced Chinese cities to consider other waste management options, including more incineration. Residents have protested, fearing the release of dioxin from improperly incinerated waste (33 INER 341, 3/31/10).

The other government ministries and agencies working with the Ministry of Environmental Protection on the dioxin emissions reduction program are the Ministry of Environmental Protection, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Commerce, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, the National Development and Reform Commission, the General Administration of Quality Supervision Inspection and Quarantine, and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps.

By Michael Standaert


The Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection document on dioxin emissions reduction is available, in Chinese, at http://www.zhb.gov.cn/gkml/hbb/bwj/201011/t20101104_197138.htm.