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在线翻译:
szdaily -> In depth
Waste classification still a long-term challenge in city
    2017-July-4  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

Zhang Qian, Chen Manqi

zhqcindy@163.com

IN a provincial-level conference May 19, Guangdong authorities urged district governments in Shenzhen to promote waste classification, with efforts to encourage residents to sort waste before disposal to be implemented citywide.

Though Shenzhen was appointed as one of the eight pilot cities in promoting waste classification in 2000 and there have long been policies enforcing waste classification in Shenzhen, it remains a question whether these policies reach the daily lives of residents.

In Futian, waste management seems to differ depending on the nature of the community. Large residential compounds with professional property management companies tend to do better in helping residents classify waste and promoting knowledge of waste classification, yet urban villages often don’t have their own systems to sort and recycle waste. The waste gathered by sanitation workers at two urban villages is simply transferred and buried at landfills without classification, according to staff from the villages’ waste transfer stations.

Current situation

Commercial residential estate

In a Vanke residential estate called Jinsejiayuan near Jingtian Metro Station in Futian District, assorted bins and posters on waste classification can be spotted around every corner. There are also bins for hazardous waste, divided into specific compartments for batteries and breakables.

“Waste disposal is becoming more and more standardized in recent years,” said Li, a cleaner at Jinsejiayuan. “The estate even holds activities every weekend to promote waste classification.”

The tradition started over a year ago, according to Li.

On the weekend, residents would classify their household garbage at an area beside the estate’s waste sorting service station and a young man from outside the residential estate would collect the classified waste at the end of the day.

“Participants are awarded points which they can exchange for household goods like detergent,” said a senior resident at Jinsejiayuan. “It’s pretty helpful, and I participate most of the time.”

When asked what he thought and knew of waste classification, the old man said: “I know it’s good for the environment, so I’m willing to do it — but my knowledge of it is definitely incomplete.”

Younger residents, however, appeared to be less conscientious. A young man interviewed said he sometimes separates his garbage, but did not know about the activities.

Old residential compound

Conditions are more or less the same in Jifuju, one of the older residential estates in Futian, where residents deposit their garbage in assorted dustbins or bins for hazardous waste within the estate. However the estate manager was not sure on whether the garbage is classified after being collected.

“The policy of waste classification is the same for all of Huafu Subdistrict (to which Jifuju belongs),” said the manager. According to him, the government had ordered the replacement of the old bins with the sorted bins about half a year ago. Since then, posters on waste classification have also been sent.

Urban villages

In Meifu Village, an urban village within a few hundred meters of Jinsejiayuan, general wastebins prevail. Cleaners remove the unsorted garbage to a waste transfer station in the village, where they are collected and sent to be buried in the Qingshuihe landfill in Luohu District without being classified, according to staff working at the transfer station.

According to the head of the Xinzhou Village transfer station, another urban village in Futian, they have yet to implement waste classification. “It’s pretty hard to manage considering there is no estate,” said the station head. “And there is no means for classification.”

“If the residents don’t sort the garbage themselves, we can do nothing about it,” said the station head, “we are responsible for transferring the waste only.”

Policies

In 2000, Shenzhen was included as one of the first eight cities to pilot waste classification in China. More detailed methods of waste classification were implemented in 2011 when the authorities separated kitchen waste from other forms of waste.

Specifically, the policies rolled out in 2011 classified waste into four categories, namely kitchen waste, recycling waste, hazardous materials and other garbage. In order to encourage residents to deal with kitchen waste separately from other kinds of garbage, the city named 1,643 organizations or residential compounds as the pilot units for the new methods.

For instance, a residential compound with over 1,000 households was given 100,000 yuan (US$14,738) in subsidies each year to help realize the reforms. However, a resident surnamed Huang living in the residential estate told Shenzhen Daily that though the property management office distributed special bins for kitchen garbage to each household in her estate, she did not know how to deal with the garbage as there were no designated bins or areas for the kitchen garbage.

In August 2015, the classification changed with kitchen waste being removed from the list as a separate category, leaving only three waste categories, according to a document released to clarify the classification of garbage.

Now with the latest efforts to encourage waste classification, related authorities will tailor a variety of methods to guide residents on how to properly sort and dispose of waste.

Giving out hard-copy guides eliciting the latest classification information to each household is one of the methods. Others include building more waste incinerators that use the waste to generate energy in different parts of Shenzhen.

All projects are to be finished by 2018 and will start operations in 2019, ensuring that no more garbage will need to be buried under landfills anymore. But more details are yet to be disclosed.

Others’ experiences

In terms of waste classification, many places and countries around the world have made great leaps in the past few decades. Both Japan and China’s Taiwan are areas where waste classification policies have been implemented well and their residents are familiar with the principals of waste sorting.

Zhao Meihui is a Chinese citizen who has been living in Japan for more than a decade. Just like any other person in Japan, Zhao follows all the guidelines on disposing of waste on a weekly basis.

“I am sure every Japanese person knows they should sort garbage before disposal because it was taught to them throughout their school lives,” said Zhao. “Even primary students clean up their milk cartons and fold them before handing them to the teachers who help to tie the flattened boxes together before disposal.”

“Waste classification does take a bit of time, so if me and my family don’t have time to sort the garbage on weekdays, we do it together on the weekend,” said Zhao. According to her, each foreigner who moves to Japan is given information on how to dispose of waste properly when they register their residences at the city halls.

“The cleaners might not take your garbage if you don’t sort it well enough and for frequent rule-breakers, the authorities might send someone to educate them,” said Zhao.

Taiwanese Geng Jiayou thinks waste classification in Taiwan is a bit more specific. “We are required to divide our garbage into not only recyclables and nonrecyclables, but also glass, aluminum cans, paper, plastic and batteries.”

According to Geng, classification of urban waste is carried out both within and outside of residential estates and communities. “Waste classification is encouraged by the government,” he said. “But there are no punishments for not doing it.”

In fact, sorting their garbage has become a habit for most citizens, said Geng, and they owe much of their awareness to governmental advertisements on television. “I remember watching advertisements for waste classification at least twice a day since kindergarten, and most people — especially the elderly — learn the policies through these advertisements.”

 

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