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VOC Management in China

VOCs are one of China’s top priority air pollution rectification targets. China began emphasizing VOC emission control starting in 2012. Given the extreme importance of primary and secondary heavy industries (traditionally associated with VOC emission) in driving China’s economic growth and the previous lack of stringent regulation, VOC emission control and development of an effective administrative and regulatory system in China has lagged behind global standards.

Despite this the goal of curbing VOCs emission has gathered considerable momentum in recent years, particularly with changes in China’s economic growth strategy and prioritization of environmental remediation. During REACH24h’s annual Chemical Regulatory Conference Mr. Guangli Xiu, the Dean of School of Resources and Environmental Engineering at REACH24h’s 10th annual Chemical Regulatory Affairs Conference, elaborated on VOC emission control status quo and associated government policies.

The most authoritative guiding principle in 2018 is the ”Notice of Three-year Plan on Defending the Blue Sky” (打赢蓝天保卫战三年行动计划) (hereinafter “Three-year Plan”). It provides the general ideas on VOCs emission control which are:

  • Industrial Reconstruction

  • In-depth Governance in Key Industries

  • Development in Environmental Protection Industries

Industrial Reconstruction

Among industrial VOCs, the chemical industry contributes to 47% of total VOCs emission according to data provided by Mr. Xiu. Chemical industrial parks have been earmarked as a priority target by government and seen as key in improving VOC emission control infrastructure. Improving the management of industrial parks with a focus on the coating, ink, synthetic leather, rubber products, plastic products, chemical fiber production and other chemical industries is planned.

In-depth Governance in Key Industries

  1. From Oct 1st, 2018, special limitation on air pollutants shall be imposed strictly for “2+26” cities in Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region (Notice on implementation of special emission limits of air pollution in air pollutants transmission channel cities in BTH). It is specified in the Three-Year Plan that besides BTH region, the key regions include the Yangtze River Delta and the Fenhe and Weihe Plain, all of which are also expected to meet special limitations for air pollutants.

  2. Before the end of 2019, the mandatory national standards for VOCs content limits for coatings, inks, adhesives, cleaning agents, etc. will be formulated, and implemented in the key regions from Jul 1st, 2020. (The draft of technical requirement of low VOC content – coating product was also made a recommended standard and saw its consultation period end on Aug 24th )

  3. Construction of manufacturing/processing facilities designated for production of solvent-based coating, ink and adhesive with a high level of VOC emission associated with production cannot be located in key regions

  4. Actively promote the use of low or no VOCs raw and auxiliary materials and products.

Development of Environmentally Friendly Industries

Development of ecofriendly industries is a major goal moving forward. We are already seeing China’s increased regulation influencing market forces best exemplified by the lagging sales of solvent based coatings (traditionally associated with excessive VOC emission) and the upward growth trajectory of more environmentally friendly water-based coating.

ChemLinked keep our readers updated on all changes to VOC management in China. Please address your concerns to contact@chemlinked.com .

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