In November 10th, the "interpreter" website of the Roy International Policy Institute in Australia published the original question: "when China refuse to refuse, when it is heard that Beijing launched the joint operation of" national sword ", it is easy to imagine that the Chinese mainland ships crossed the Taiwan Straits or the Chinese submarine suddenly emerged from the depths of the South China Sea. However, this "sword" has a different edge - China announced that it will no longer act as a "world trash can". The story highlights a global connection that is often overlooked.
At the beginning, China just announced the "national sword" action, and the relevant changes were considered too drastic, so that the recycling industry did not believe that it would be implemented. Within one year, the global plastic waste transported to China decreased by 99% and the import of waste paper decreased by 1 / 3. This policy has led to a crisis in the waste management industry. In addition to landfilling, incineration or discarding everywhere, the countries concerned do not know where to transport those wastes.
The main intention of the "national sword" action is to protect China's natural environment and people's health by rejecting a large number of dirty and harmful substances. But another unspoken possible motive is China's image. How can this country become a superpower and compete with the United States when it still collects "foreign garbage" from the world? In fact, banning the import of garbage is consistent with the pace of enhancing China's strength and ambition. In the second year of the implementation of the "national sword" action, Beijing took a tough stance on the (unreasonable) trade demands from the United States, landed bombers on the islands built by China in the South China Sea for the first time, and opposed the so-called "free navigation" exercise conducted by the United States in the region.
Rejecting garbage is unlikely to appear strategically in any defense or foreign policy white paper, but this should be seen as a signal that Beijing will become more confident in the coming years.
Although China's measures triggered turmoil in the global waste export industry, Southeast Asian enterprises quickly filled the vacuum and implemented their own waste import restrictions or bans six months later. Since 2018, western countries have had to re evaluate waste management methods. The United States quickly launched various activities to educate the public to develop the habit of appropriate recycling and develop more benign recycling and infrastructure. Australia and European countries have also taken similar measures.
For major changes in global waste management, China's "sword" action is no different from a catalyst. Since then, countries have abandoned the use of disposable plastic bags, plastic straws and other products, and paid more attention to the impact of pollution and climate change and ways to deal with it. In terms of waste management, it seems that the West should thank Beijing for promoting a better future environment.