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New anti-waste smuggling drive in China

Dozens of people have been arrested by Chinese customs on suspicion of smuggling more than 110 000 tonnes of waste plastics and other materials.

In all, 58 operators were detained during a concerted crackdown, according to the General Administration of Customs (GAC). GAC said that 416 investigators in 75 teams carried out raids across 11 regions, including Tianjin and Guangdong. They were said to be targeting 23 waste-trafficking gangs smuggling 111 200 tonnes of waste including plastic.

A customs official said the incidence of the smuggling imported solid waste and other illegal activities was declining. Last year, the country launched five such crackdowns, investigating 481 cases and seizing 1.55 million tonnes of illegal waste imports. The official said customs will continue to strengthen its monitoring and urged criminals to surrender voluntarily.

VIDEO: Trevor Noah talks about waste exports from the US to Asia on the Daily Show

China began importing solid waste as a source of raw materials in the 1980s and but in recent years has sought to drastically reduce this reliance through legislation and regulation.

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