China has launched Blue Sky 2018, a 10-month program of inspections of waste imports.

Blue Sky 2018 commenced on March 1 and will run till December. It follows the country's National Sword policy that was implemented on January 1 and the crackdown will focus on the 24 materials added to the Imported Solid Waste Prohibited list last year.

China's Customs Authority made the announcement on March 6 and at the time, also announced that it had seized more than 500 tons of smuggled waste paper in Qingdao and were investigating 7000 tons of smuggled waste paper from Russia.

Spokesperson for the General Administration of Customs, Zhang Guangzhi, told the organisation is "fully committed to investigating a number of large-scale smuggling cases of wastes, eradicating a number of smuggling gangs and cutting off a number of smuggling routes and chains of rubbish, and resolutely blocking ‘foreign rubbish'."

The Customs and Excise Department said it will also work with relevant local authorities during the operation to promote "comprehensive anti-smuggling work in a concerted manner".

Turning to local government organisations, Zhang Guangzhi said Customs would strengthen its links with relevant law enforcement departments including environmental protection and quality inspection to stop illegal operations and "foreign garbage" shops.