South Korea's Ministry of Environment is toughening its inspections of waste imported from Japan, with a focus on batteries, tires and plastic.
The environment ministry said Friday that it plans to do more frequent verification of the reports submitted by local firms on the radiation and heavy metals contained in such waste.
Instead of once a quarter, it'll happen once a month.
The ministry said its on-site inspections of local waste importers will also be carried out more than once a month as well instead of once a quarter.
If heavy metals or radioactive contamination are found to be above the allowed limits, the waste products will have to be sent back to the companies in Japan they were bought from.
Announcing the plan, the environment ministry said the decision was based on the recent increase in public concern about imported waste being contaminated with radiation.
"The stronger inspections are in place to ensure the safety and health of the Korean people and to protect the environment. So we are saying that these new measures are not about counteracting trade disputes or export curbs related to a specific country."
It was about a week ago that South Korea announced plans to strengthen inspections of Japanese coal ash.
In 2018, South Korea imported some 140-thousand tons of waste batteries, tires and plastics from Japan -- about 16 percent of its total imports of those three products.
These are imported to South Korea from several other countries too, including the U.S., to be recycled.
Kan Hyeong-woo, Arirang News