The first official plan to control hazardous waste in China was released on November 1, 2012. The plan was published by the country’s ministries, including the Environmental Protection Ministry. The new plan aims to determine the exact amount and distribution of hazardous waste nationwide.

The plan has been formulated to increase the level of standardized waste management and to reduce environmental risks by 2015. Hazardous waste can be generated due to improper operation, storage, disposal or transportation. The waste can cause a major threat to people’s health and the environment.

The material that comes under the plan also includes medical waste, heavy metal waste and chemical waste. A rough picture of the distribution of enterprises generating such waste was outlined by the plan, which was gained through the first national census on pollution sources in the year 2007. However, the information about how disposal facilities work and the types and amount of waste generated in the past decade is still not clear.

Wang Qi, head of the Institute of Environmental Engineering Technology, which is part of the Chinese Research Academy of Environmental sciences said, “No one is aware of the exact amount of hazardous waste we need to deal with now”. In 2007, the first national census bulletin said that hazardous waste produced by industrial pollution sources exceeded 45 million metric tonnes.