Gyirong Customs, affiliated to Lhasa Customs, seized 80 kg of used clothes smuggled into China through freight channels, which is the first time for Lhasa to seize smuggled foreign waste.
Customs found two bags containing 260 items of old clothes hidden in other goods during an inspection in April, which is considered foreign waste and is banned by China, said Gyirong Customs with its port on the China-Nepal border.
The goods were immediately returned, and customs said the enterprises and individuals involved would be punished.
China began importing solid waste as a source of raw materials in the 1980s and was the world's largest importer for years, despite its weak capacity in garbage disposal. Some companies illegally bring foreign waste into the country for profit, posing a threat to the environment and public health.
Given rising public awareness of environmental protection and China's green development drive, the country decided to phase out and halt such imports by the end of 2019, except for those containing resources that are not substitutable.