China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment published six representative cases of illegal activities related to hazardous waste on its official website on 18 September, 2020. In 2020, from July to November, the crackdown activities on hazardous waste are being carried out throughout China. The purpose of making these cases public is to encourage relevant departments in each region to strengthen their crackdowns. The following are 2 of these illegal activities that have been made to public.
Illegal collection and disposal of waste lead-acid batteries
In July 2020, after receiving a tip-off from residents, Department of Ecology and Environment of Tianjin began the investigation, and found the illegal collection and disposal of waste lead-acid batteries activities at one of the work sites in Wuqing District, Tianjin. At this work site, waste lead acid batteries which belongs to HW49 in hazardous waste category, and waste electrolyte which belongs to the HW31 category were being dismantled and treated without obtaining a hazardous waste treatment license. In addition, the waste electrolyte was discharged directly into the sewage pipes, which caused the contamination of the surrounding soil.
In accordance with the relevant laws and regulations, the above-mentioned illegal activity is belonging the category of “serious environmental pollution” as defined in Article 338* of the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China, so the above alleged offenses was transferred to the public security agencies for processing. According to information from the Department of Ecology and Environment, the person in charge of the worksite has been taken into custody by public safety agency.
※If it falls into the category of “serious environmental pollution,” the person shall be sentenced up to three years in prison or imprisonment with a fine. In case of causing particularly grave consequences, a 3-7 years imprisonment shall be imposed and a fine shall be imposed concurrently.
Illegal dumping of hazardous waste
In April 2020, after receiving a tip-off in Changshou District, Chongqing, the district’s Department of Ecology and Environment began to investigate the water quality of one of the waterways, and found the water quality exceeded the standard badly. Subsequent investigations which using information from big data and in-vehicle GPS revealed the illegal dumping of hazardous waste activity was conducted by several people. The above-mentioned offenders illegally dumped 33 tons effluent generated in the process of disposing waste tires which collected from a company into a local well, and caused pollution in the surrounding waters. According to initial investigations by the local Department of Ecology and Environment, the aforementioned black wastewater belongs to HW08 in the hazardous waste category.
The above illegal hazardous waste dumping activity was fined 1 million yuan (approximately 15.5 million yen) in accordance with Articles 39 and 83 etc. of the Law on the Prevention and Control of Water Pollution. Furthermore, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Criminal Law, the case was transferred to the Public Security Bureau and the above-mentioned offenders were arrested.
The original of the above article can be viewed at the following URL (in simplified Chinese)