Need for education in garbage disposal 2011-08-03 09:01 十分教育网

Beijing residents learned recently that they will soon be paying for what they throw out.

In an effort to better manage Beijing's household waste and make the city environmental friendly, authorities announced a new waste-collection scheme, although details of the scheme are still under discussion.

Three months ago Shanghai also announced a draft regulation to charge for garbage disposal. Surprisingly, there was no strong reaction against the charge from residents in both cities, taking into consideration the two cities' rising CPI index.

According to city authorities, the goal of the pay-for-you-throw system is to encourage trash sorting and recycling. It is hoped that the announcement would make residents realize the urgency of eco-friendly waste disposal in metropolitans like Beijing and Shanghai.

But as I see it little has changed. Most people still get rid of garbage the way they did before the announcement was made. In our neighborhood, for example, there are two rubbish containers for every building, one for recycling and the other for solid waste.

However, I still see people dump things without proper sorting, place all trash in the same plastic bag and throw it at will in either containers.

I have tried to sort out waste that could be recycled and placed solid waste and recycling in two different containers meant for them. However, the garbage pickup next day disappoints me. Every morning the waste collection service worker empties both containers into just one cart.

Waste sorted out for recycling - is mixed with the rest of the garbage in the cart. Previous sorting simply becomes a waste of time and effort.

Then on my way to office, I also pass by a waste collection station. There I see workers stop their carts and dump waste onto trucks. There is no differentiating, solid waste or recycling, all is treated as waste, full stop. I know these truck-loads of waste will then be transported to landfills or incineration stations to be buried or burned.

For most residents, so long as garbage is out of sight, it is out of mind.

And for the authorities trying to keep a 24-hour city clean is a 24-hour job.

To add on environmental friendly management is definitely no easy task. Beijing is home to 160,000 tons of daily garbage. The city is able to manage 136,000 tons of waste treatment and disposal. As a result, about 15 percent of waste is not properly disposed of.

However, Beijing is still the model in waste treatment nationwide. Chinese cities on average can only treat 50 percent of household garbage.

China's rapid urbanization has made the nation top the world in terms of municipal solid waste.

According to the Beijing Municipal Commission of Development and Reform, about 8 percent of its household waste is compost, 2 percent incinerated, 90 percent buried.

One saying goes "Beijing is besieged by pockets of garbage", as untreated garbage litters rural Beijing.

If Beijing follows its bury-first approach, the city needs more land. But to look for more land is simply a mission impossible. Besides, dumping garbage in the ground releases toxins - rotting rubbish emits explosive gases and polluting liquids.