China Market Insider China's Government Tightens Control of Volatile Organic Compounds
The Chinese Ministry of Environment in Beijing has adopted the "2020 Action Plan for the Control of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC)". The "fight for a blue sky" personally proclaimed by President Xi Jinping is now in its decisive phase, the Chinese chemical paper Zhongguo Huagong Bao reported.
Beijing/China – A whole series of stricter standards and regulations are coming into force, and violations are to be punished as early as July, according to the Chinese government's tightened environmental regulations. Efforts are focused on controlling harmful or toxic VOCs in the chemical, petrochemical, industrial coatings, packaging and printing industries, as well as in the storage, sale and transportation of oil. In particular, chemical parks, so-called "company clusters" and certain key objects that are not precisely named must quickly implement a whole range of control and protective measures in order to continue to produce "compliantly".
For the months June to September, the authorities have also declared a "nationwide campaign" for VOC control. As the ozone levels in the air in China's major cities exceed the permissible limits on many days, especially in the summer months, "VOC emissions are to be significantly reduced in the three-month period just commenced," Zhongguo Huagong Bao writes, citing official sources.
A whole range of products and processes are explicitly listed in the environmental regulations. For example, there are stricter requirements for the production, sale and use of paints and varnishes in the areas of marine, floor and construction coatings and for self-adhesive products. The petrochemical and chemical industry in China must now use closed containers, transport vehicles and storage tanks, and any gases escaping during processing must be completely collected. By 15 July this year, China's provinces must report corresponding improvement plans to the Ministry of Environment. By the same date, all companies concerned must have implemented "self-assessment" processes for the collection and further treatment of VOCs, the regulations state.
Local authorities throughout the People's Republic are now required to focus their attention on chemical parks and clusters of ten or more VOC-relevant companies as part of this nationwide campaign. For companies that comply with all regulations, there will be a "positive list" which, among other things, will give access to certain tenders by public authorities. After July 1, criminal measures would be taken "against offending companies", the officials threatened. Ten types of offences for which penalties are expected are listed in detail, including the violation of the new requirements for the storage, transfer and transport of materials containing VOCs, their disposal without avoiding direct contact with the outside air, the use of production equipment of open design or open flow processes in the chemical industry, etc.
In parallel to this tightening of regulations and accompanying campaign on the part of the Environmental Protection Agency, the "Standardization Administration of the People's Republic of China" had already issued four new, binding industry standards for handling volatile organic compounds in the Chinese electrical and electronics industry on March 4.