TRASH SORT­ING MEA­SURES GATHER PACE IN THE CITY

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI -

The lo­cal govern­ment has been ramp­ing up ef­forts to get res­i­dents to dis­pose of their garbage prop­erly, lev­er­ag­ing smart bins and work­place reg­u­la­tions to en­cour­age such green prac­tices

To help res­i­dents learn bet­ter, Lin in­structed peo­ple to use dif­fer­ent bags for dif­fer­ent type of trash. She also made each res­i­dent re­view the con­tents of these bags.

“It was a lot of work at first, but this is the most ef­fec­tive way to teach peo­ple how to sort their rub­bish,” she said.

Three months later, Lin no longer had to make daily vis­its to the trash sta­tion as the prac­tices had al­ready be­come sec­ond na­ture.

Even the neigh­bor­hood’s se­cu­rity guard has be­come a vol­un­teer, help­ing open the trash sta­tion dur­ing the des­ig­nated hours — 7:309:30 am and 4:30-7:00 pm — when res­i­dents can dis­card their garbage. Waste dis­posal trucks also col­lect the trash dur­ing these time win­dows.

The Shang­hai mu­nic­i­pal govern­ment in March re­leased a plan to sort house­hold waste. Ac­cord­ing to the ac­tion plan, all dis­tricts in Shang­hai would have trash sort­ing pro­grams by 2020.

The plan aims to re­duce daily dry waste out­put from 21,400 met­ric tons to 18,100 met­ric tons, while in­creas­ing the out­put of wet waste and re­cy­clables. Wet waste would be used to cre­ate com­post or fer­til­izer.

Ac­cord­ing to Liu Chang, deputy chief en­gi­neer at the En­vi­ron­men­tal San­i­ta­tion En­gi­neer­ing Tech­nol­ogy Re­search Cen­ter of the Min­istry of Hous­ing and Ur­ban­Rural De­vel­op­ment, the main solid waste dis­posal meth­ods in China are still land­fills and in­cin­er­a­tion plants. As such, prop­erly sorted deputy chief en­gi­neer at the En­vi­ron­men­tal San­i­ta­tion En­gi­neer­ing Tech­nol­ogy Re­search Cen­ter of the Min­istry of Hous­ing and Ur­ban-Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment

“... the solid waste treat­ment in­dus­try has been de­vel­op­ing at a high speed as well. But there is still a huge gap of about 30,000 tons each day in China be­tween the waste we pro­duce and the treat­ment ca­pa­bil­i­ties we have.”

trash can re­duce the foot­print of land­fills and im­prove ef­fi­ciency at in­cin­er­a­tion fa­cil­i­ties.

“The amount of house­hold waste pro­duced in China has been in­creas­ing ev­ery year, and the solid waste treat­ment in­dus­try has been de­vel­op­ing at a high speed as well,” Liu said.

“But there is still a huge gap of about 30,000 tons each day in China be­tween the waste we pro­duce and the treat­ment ca­pa­bil­i­ties we have.”

A new round of trash sort­ing ef­forts has been im­ple­mented across Shang­hai since Au­gust. New ver­sions of pam­phlets and brochures about trash sort­ing have been printed and dis­trib­uted.

Teams of vol­un­teers, in­clud­ing uni­ver­sity stu­dents and re­tirees, gath­ered in Au­gust to in­struct res­i­dents about garbage clas­si­fi­ca­tion, ac­cord­ing to the mu­nic­i­pal vol­un­teer as­so­ci­a­tion.

A trash sort­ing themed day, which takes place on the fifth day of ev­ery month start­ing in Septem­ber, has been in­tro­duced as well.

Au­thor­i­ties have also lever­aged tech­nol­ogy to fur­ther pro­mote trash sort­ing. At a pi­lot trash sta­tion, smart re­cy­cle bins equipped with sen­sors can iden­tify the type of items dis­carded be­fore dis­pens­ing a mone­tary re­mu­ner­a­tion for users. The smart bin can also no­tify the trash re­cy­cle com­pany when it is close to max­i­mum ca­pac­ity.

New su­per­vi­sion sys­tems are be­ing tested as well. In Fengx­ian district, Party mem­bers and lo­cal of­fi­cials have each been as­signed with a spe­cific trash sta­tion to take charge of.

Trash sort­ing is not a novel ef­fort in China. In 2000, Shang­hai was se­lected as one of the eight pi­lot cities to im­ple­ment such ef­forts. Last year, city au­thor­i­ties also in­tro­duced a rule stip­u­lat­ing that workspaces, in­clud­ing those at govern­ment bod­ies and en­ter­prises, are re­quired to sort their waste.

Ac­cord­ing to the Shang­hai Mu­nic­i­pal Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Af­foresta­tion and City Ap­pear­ance, whose main task in­cludes waste trans­porta­tion and treat­ment, 50,000 of­fices in the city were no­ti­fied of the rule last year.

Ad­min­is­tra­tors of most of­fice build­ings have com­plied by chang­ing their trash bins and putting up no­tices in their lob­bies. Liu Peng, who works at an ad­ver­tis­ing com­pany, said that his of­fice build­ing on Huai­hai Road has since re­placed the orig­i­nal bin with a larger one that comes with three com­part­ments.

“I didn’t sort my trash be­fore, but now I will do it,” Liu said. “Af­ter all, it takes just a lit­tle ef­fort.”

De­spite the var­i­ous mea­sures taken in Shang­hai in re­cent years, not ev­ery­one has ad­hered to the reg­u­la­tions. There were 557 cases of non-com­pli­ance which re­sulted in a com­bined to­tal of 20,000 yuan ($2,917) in fines last year.

Michael Rosen­thal, a US cit­i­zen who is the founder of a waste treat­ment com­pany, said the key to im­prov­ing trash sort­ing lies in set­ting stan­dard­ized reg­u­la­tions and lev­er­ag­ing tech­nol­ogy.

He also lauded how most Chi­nese have quickly em­braced the new reg­u­la­tions.

“To see green prac­tice be­com­ing more com­mon in China, and peo­ple’s be­hav­ior chang­ing within a few years is truly an amaz­ing thing,” he said.

Qi, how­ever, pointed out that it is all a mat­ter of will.

“This has got to do with peo­ple’s mind­sets. All they need to do is just lift a fin­ger and it’s done. So why not do the right thing?” she said.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Au­thor­i­ties have at­tempted to pro­mote trash sort­ing by lev­er­ag­ing tech­nol­ogy.

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