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International Update Volume 48, Issue 21

CHINA APPROVES PLAN TO TACKLE RURAL POLLUTION

China

China's Ministry of Ecology and Environment has approved a new plan to tackle growing pollution threats in the country's rural areas. The new plan will aim to clean up contaminated rural land and drinking water, and improve waste management throughout China's countryside. The plan also mandates cuts in fertilizer and pesticide use, and improved recycling rates.

EU COURT DECLARES GMO RULES COVER GENE EDITING

EU

On June 25, Europe's highest court declared that crops obtained by mutagenesis, or gene editing, should fall under laws restricting the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The Court of Justice of the European Union took the view that organisms obtained by mutagenesis are GMOs within the meaning of the GMO Directive because mutagenesis involves techniques that alter the genetic material of an organism in a way that does not occur naturally. The ruling goes against the opinion of the court's advocate general, who argued earlier this year that mutagenesis should be allowed.

VIETNAM TO STOP ISSUING LICENSES FOR WASTE IMPORTS

Vietnam

Vietnam will stop issuing new licenses for the import of waste. The country has seen a surge in waste imports since the Chinese government banned the entry of several types of solid wastes at the beginning of 2018, with roughly 6,000 containers of paper, plastic, and metal scrap currently sitting at its ports. The waste is a supplemental source of raw materials for Vietnam's paper, plastic, and steel industries, but the government has stated that this demand benefits only the processors, not the environment.