Urban waste in China

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Urban waste in China

Post by Justine LORIN on Sun Oct 14, 2018 1:14 pm

Hello everyone Very Happy

I have chosen my online courses which is "Urban Waste in China". I decided to read all of it before presenting it, now that's done !

We don't realize as french people how lucky we are to have a good system for waste. It's not the case in all the countries. In this course we learn about China.
First, there is an introduction about the waste hierarchy in UK and Europe. This is the waste management. There are 5 levels in the waste hierarchy :
1. Reduce waste – don’t create waste in the first place.
2. Reuse ‘waste’ – use products for a purpose more than one time.
3. Recycle waste – reprocess waste materials to be used for new products.
4. Recover waste – incinerate waste and recover energy for heat and power generation.
5. Dispose of waste – place waste in landfill which is not suitable for recovery, recycling or reuse.

In China, there is a kinf of waste management, but in the big cities. In rural areas, the wastes were just organic wastes for a long time. Now, it becomes more and more plastics, metals, cardboard, and they don't know what to do with that.
The course explains two different examples of what is the current waste management -if we can say that- in rural areas.

The first example is the one from the small villages Lige and Luoshui, near Lugu Lake. The observator is Tian Song, he is chinese so he knows the chinese culture. One day he visited Lige, and he was surprised to see a garbage can in the middle of the village. He explains that in traditionnal areas, there is usually no bin because all wastes are just food and dust. But now there is one because as I said a few lines before, the kind of wastes is changing. So Tian Song was curious to know what become the waste. Zaho Hua helped him and discovered that all the wastes are drumped in the forest, not so far from Lugu Lake. There is a giant hill only made of garbage. Zaho Hua and Tian Song explained the problem in a TV show and then the government reacted and closed the access to the hill. Then, they make the wastes disappear, so surely it got burn and covered by earth. Then it was not allowed anymore to dump the garabage there, but as there is still no solution to help the villages, it's almost sure that there is another garbage hill somewhere in the mountains. The article also explain that the lake got polluted by the waste and it becomes less and less clearwith the time.

The case of those villages is not the only one in China. There are at least 5000 illegal landfill like that one. It causes big problems of contamination of the soil and the water (as for the lake). And as the nulber of waste grows, there will probably be more and more landfill in the future.

The second example in the course is the one of Guiyu, a group of four villages where a lot of digital waste are dumped. There are a lot of waste everywhere, so a lot of people, called 'recyclers', collect the waste to sell them to the depots. Some of them are just walking to collect the waste, and so they need to go often to the depot because they cannot hold a lot of things. So most of the time they prefer collect from the bin than to buy from people. There are also people with bikes, they can bring more items, or even with kinf of bikes with three wheels, so they can bring really big and heavy items, and go less often to the depot. For this last kinf of 'recyclers', they are often two or in small groups, to be able to hold the heavy objects into the bike. Then they share the money together. As for the first example, a big problem of the waste in the nature is the contamination. All the people have to drink water from plastic bottles and so  there are more waste.
A lot of farmers are migrated from their cities to work as 'recyclers', because they earn more money.

The conclusion of the course is that the waste hierarchy is really ipmportant and countries as China have to progress a lot in terms of waste management. The number of illegal landfills brings problem for the nature, the health of people, the tourism, the agriculture (because the grounds are poisoned), etc. It is also a problem for the economy of the country, because raw materials cost more than recycled materials. The country will save money if they create and efficient recycling system, to use recycled materials in there industries. And it will save also our environment which is maybe the most important.

This course was really interesting for me because environment  and its protection is really important nowadays. That also why the second course I have chosen is "Working with our environment: an introduction". It is about global warming, the use of fossil fuel and what we can do in term of technology to protect our planet for the future.

Justine LORIN

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Re: Urban waste in China

Post by Admin on Sun Oct 14, 2018 2:01 pm

Very interesting, thanks.

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