Plastic waste is piling up in Japan with many local governments struggling to cope after China banned the import of such waste late last year, Environment Ministry data showed Thursday.

According to about a quarter of 102 local governments that responded to a ministry survey, the amount of plastic waste stored at local scrap companies increased between January and July, with some reporting that piled-up waste had exceeded the legal limit.

Japan exports about 1.5 million tons of plastic waste per year and until last year around half went to China, which imported the waste for recycling purposes. In late 2017, China stopped accepting plastic waste out of concern over environmental pollution.