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China sets new emission limits for leather industry

Feb 26, 2014 China
China sets new emission limits for leather industry

The Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) has recently announced new discharge Standards for Water Pollutant Discharges in the Leather Manufacturing and Fur Processing Industry. Known as GB 30486-2013, the new set of rules is to be implemented with effect from the 1st of March 2014.

China and its manufacturing industry have been associated to major pollution problems and accused of little effort in promoting cleaner production. Last week, Chinas MEP announced a 163 billion USD plan to act upon this issue. The format of the overall plan is still in the making, but according to MEP’s recent announcements, it will focus on curbing water pollution in the worst affected areas and preventing future pollution of the better conserved waters. According to Zhai Qing, deputy minister, Chinas annual volume of Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) and ammonia nitrogen emissions stand at 24 million tons and 2.45 million tons, respectively.

Although the action plan on water pollution will address public concerns over Chinas deteriorating environment, it is unlikely to produce any quick effects. According to experts quoted by the MEP the plan is of unquestionable importance and it will speed up the improvement of water quality, however they alert it will take a very long time before any fundamental improvements are witnessed.

China has been the world’s largest leather importer in the last few years. 2012 official numbers show that Chinese companies bought leather worthing 7.125 million USD, which represents 25% of the world’s imports. The value of imported leather also presented an upward trend in the last few years, showing an increase of 26% since 2008 (5.640 million USD in 2008; 7.125 million USD in 2012).

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