China plans to end illegal hazardous chemical dumping by 2025

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China will step up efforts to end the illegal dumping of hazardous chemical waste over the next six years, raising its monitoring and treatment capacity and blacklisting violators, the environment ministry said on Monday.

China’s chemical sector came under heavy scrutiny this year after a factory explosion in the province of Jiangsu killed 78 people. The blast triggered a nationwide safety crackdown as well as a plan to relocate 80% of producers of toxic chemicals away from residential areas.

All regions must create a comprehensive hazardous chemical monitoring system by the end of 2025 and ensure they have sufficient treatment capacity, the ecology and environment ministry said in its notice on Monday.

Hazardous waste treatment will also be one of the criteria in a new corporate environmental credit system that will lead to public blacklisting and denial of financing for firms that violate rules, it added.

Local authorities will also have to draw up plans to build integrated waste disposal facilities and set up funding mechanisms for transfers of hazardous waste.

To improve waste management, local governments will also be encouraged to set up more integrated “industrial bases” in sectors such as petrochemicals and nonferrous metals.

The ministry will also encourage the use of cement kilns or blast furnaces at steel plants to dispose of hazardous chemical waste.

The Yangtze river delta, including the commercial hub of Shanghai and the neighboring provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang, will be forced to adopt the measures by the end of next year, the ministry said.

Regions along the length of the Yangtze, together with the economic areas of Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei and the Pearl River delta, will have to comply with the new rules by 2022.

The current safety crackdown on the chemical sector is already expected to force hundreds of smaller, private players out of the market, leading to consolidation.

The campaign should drive more efficient production practices and help modernize the huge but fragmented chemical industry, S&P Global Ratings said in a report on Monday.

Reporting by David Stanway; editing by Richard Pullin