The current situation of solid waste management in China

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Courtesy of Springer

With economic development, the quantity of solid waste is increasing rapidly in China; the total quantities of municipal solid waste (MSW), industrial solid waste (ISW), and hazardous waste (HW) in 2002 were 136.5 million tons, 945 million tons, and 10 million tons, respectively. In 2002, the quantity of MSW disposed of was 74.04 million tons, 89.30% of which was landfilled, 3.72% was incinerated, and 6.98% was composted. There are currently 651 disposal facilities for MSW in China. Mining gangue is the largest component of ISW, making up 27.5% of the total. In the Chinese industrial sector, the coal mining and processing industry contributed most to the total quantity of ISW, with 16.0% of the total quantity of ISW generated by this sector. In total, 44% of HW was recycled, 27% was stored, 13.5% was disposed of, and 15.4% was discharged. Of the total HW generated, 40% was produced by the chemical materials and chemical products industry. Five categories of HW, i.e., waste alkali, waste acid, inorganic fluoride waste, copper waste, and inorganic cyanide waste, made up 57.8% of the total HW generated. Solid waste pollution has become a huge challenge faced by those involved in Chinese environmental management, but this can be seen as an opportunity to improve environmental quality. This article introduces the strategies taken to improve solid waste management in China.

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