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Southern Chinese city enforces garbage classification

04-02-2011 08:49 BJT

GUANGZHOU, April 1 (Xinhua) -- Starting April 1, throwing garbage into a wrong waste bin in Guangzhou may cost the equivalent of a fancy dinner.

As the southern China metropolis seeks to reduce the amount of trash, it has decided to take a hard line by imposing fines on people who fail to put waste in the right place.

The regulations on garbage classification, which took effect on Friday, requires residents and organizations to put garbage into four separate bins labeled recyclable waste, kitchen waste, hazardous waste and other waste.

An individual resident who fails to correctly dispose garbage will be fined 50 yuan (7.6 U.S. dollars), and the penalty for violation by an organizations will be 500 yuan, according to the regulations.

"So far, the issue of the penalty relies on spot checks, so it is more about deterrence and discipline," said Zhang Jianguo, deputy head of the city management committee.

Publicity, however, will be ramped up as more signs and TV programs are disseminated to spread information about the proper sorting of waste, said Zhang.

Garbage classification is nothing new to China's big cities. However, the additional roadside receptacles for recyclables and non-recyclables are seen by most citizens as nothing more than an extra bin for trash.

To raise public awareness, the city of Guangzhou piloted new ways for garbage classification in dozens of neighborhoods since January 2010.

At one community on Dongfeng Road, a conspicuous bin for kitchen waste stands on every floor of most buildings. Officials said that food residue is more abundant than in others areas because the country is famous for its cuisine.

Children are encouraged to collect recyclables , such as used paper and glass bottles. This garbage can be traded for small gifts at the community office.

"Children are actively joining the campaign. I guess, before long, adults will feel ashamed that their children pointed out their incorrect disposal," said Luo Huihong, a local resident.

In other communities, the campaign for garbage classification has been stymied due to a lack of publicity and has been met with less cooperation from property management companies.

"Some communities wouldn't agree to pay for more dustbins because they say that it is the obligation of the government," said Zhang.

Guo Weiqing, a professor with Sun Yat-Sen University, also said that the primitive state of waste processing would undermine efforts to promote classification for garbage collection.

"Garbage classification is not just about grouping before disposal. It should create more business opportunities for recycling," said Guo.

Guangzhou produces 15,000 tonnes of garbage daily. Because most of the trash is buried or burned, it poses a risk to the environment and the health of residents near the dump site.

"The city should work on a more profitable business for waste recycling and make it truly sustainable," said Guo.

Editor:Yang Jie |Source: Xinhua

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