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China sets tannery emission limits

A new Chinese standard is designed to reduce wastewater pollution from the leather and fur industries.

The Chinese Government’s Ministry of Environmental Protection has set a new standard for the discharge of water pollutants by the leather and fur making industry – GB 30486-2013 – which was implemented on March 1st 2014. China claims to be the world’s largest leather producing nation, but recognises that the problem of pollution exists within its industry – hence the need for the revised legislation.

Leather producers in China generate a reported 160 million tons of wastewater annually, which the Ministry says contain some 1,280 tons of chromium, 16,000 tons of ammonia/nitrogen and 404,000 tons of chemical oxygen demand (COD). GB 30486-2013 outlines the total amount of specific pollutants, including chlorine ion and nitrogen, which are the main targets for control of wastewater produced by tanneries and fur manufacturers.

The new standard is based on recent technological advancements in the treatment of water pollutants that are created by leather industry processes. As a result, GB 30486-2013 sets emission limits and referential discharge indicators that are more demanding than the existing legislation. According to a Ministry spokesperson, the discharge of COD may be cut by 11,800 tons (57.2 per cent) and ammonia/nitrogen by 2,380 tons (67.4 per cent) after the new standard has been completely enforced.

As a further measure, a number of small-sized companies operating outdated and uncompetitive production facilities, with low-level processes and technology, and poor levels of environmental pollution treatment will be closed.

Publishing Data

This article was originally published on page 2 of the April 2014 issue of SATRA Bulletin.

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