Big city, big campaign . . .
The city of Shanghai, China has launched a garbage-sorting campaign as part of the country’s effort to advance green and sustainable development. With a population of about 25 million, the city collects more than nine million tonnes of garbage every year. Throughout the city, there are now slogans reminding people to sort their garbage, new bins for four different categories of garbage, and volunteers stationed at the bins in the morning and afternoon to assist residents. Since the launch on July 1, participation has been so high that the city is already running short on new trash bins.
Not messing around . . .
The new regulations are a sign the city is serious about reducing waste, encouraging recycling, and ensuring safe waste disposal. Individuals and companies who break the law will face strict penalties. For example, restaurant and hotel operators are not allowed to provide disposable tableware. If they violate the regulations, they could be fined up to RMB 50,000 (C$10,000). Individuals could be fined up to RMB 200 (C$40).
Some reasons for skepticism . . .
Some people are questioning the long-term effectiveness of this policy. In many of China’s previous garbage-sorting trials, sorted garbage sometimes got mixed together when collected. And the “wet and dry garbage” sorting rule is not clear to people. There are also challenges to the city’s garbage-processing capacity. This is a policy worth watching, though, since 46 Chinese cities are expected to follow in Shanghai’s footsteps by the end of 2020.
- China Dialogue: Shanghai’s compulsory waste sorting begins
- People’s Daily: China's big cities push garbage sorting as example to rest of country