Household waste produced in Beijing in the first half of 2010 was reduced by around 5 percent over the same period last year, according to the latest statistics from www.bjd.com.cn. This is the first negative growth Beijing has achieved in household waste over the years.
Director of the Capital Civic Enhancement Committee Office (CCECO) Chen Dong disclosed the figure on August 5. According to an official from the Beijing Municipal Administration Committee (BMAC), the total garbage production in the city in the first half of this year stood at 3.2 million tons, a decrease of 160,000 tons over the same period last year. That means that the per capita waste reduction volume is about 10 kilograms. Compared with the 8 percent of annual growth from 2005 to 2008, the city has achieved significant progress in waste disposal.
The total statistical household waste is obtained based on waste transported to landfills, waste incinerators, and large kitchen waste treatment stations. The official also said that although the specific figures have not yet been obtained, it is certain that green environmental awareness of residents has been improved through publicizing garbage reduction and sorting, with some communities, office buildings and restaurants achieving "zero waste," which indeed reduced the total waste output.
According to Beijing Municipal government's requirement in the "Opinions on Promoting the Disposal of Household Waste," the waste output rate must be reduced 1 to 2 percentage points every year beginning in 2010, and reduced by 5 percent in 2012. Judging from the figures, the city has completed the task of this year and even achieved the goal of "reaching zero growth in 2015" five years ahead of schedule.
Experts explain that waste sorting is far from the required standard
Experts said the negative growth of household waste is also resulted from the economy, social activities, and other factors, and does not mean that the waste sorting work has totally achieved success.
According to sources, there are only 600 pilot waste reduction and sorting communities, accounting for a quarter of the communities in Beijing, and the pilot Party and government institutions only account for 30 percent. The work of distributing classified trash cans and trash bags to these communities free of charge will be completed by the end of 2010. Overall, the proportion of residents involved in correct waste sorting is much less than the goal of 65 percent in 2015.
The related departments including the CCECO and BMAC said the task of waste classification is still very urgent in the next few years. In the second half of 2010, the activity of "Waste Reduction Day on Thursdays" will be held in communities, schools, markets, and shopping malls, while the theme this month is "Green Community Month."
Before it was transported out of the community, the kitchen waste was changed into fertilizer.
The kitchen waste from residents was changed into organic fertilizer after being classified within the community, and was used to fertilize flowers and trees in the community. The Xishan Tingyuan Community carried out the waste sorting activity, reducing the amount of waste by about 30 percent.
At the northwest corner of the Xishan Tingyuan Community, a 150-square-meter waste disposal area can be seen in a few yellow lines. A kitchen waste treatment machine also operates in a closed room. Eggshells, leftovers, and other waste from residents' kitchens can be grinded to powder in less than one day. Among the kitchen waste, 10 percent will become good organic fertilizer used for the flowers and trees in the community and 90 percent will become water vapor, carbon dioxide, and heat through microbial decomposition.
Now, the community can handle 120 kilograms of kitchen waste every day and retrieve about 60 kilograms of recyclable waste, equivalent to 30 percent of the total 600 kilograms waste in the community.
500,000 comic books help publicize waste classification knowledge
The book promoting waste reduction and classification was also published on August 5. The book answers a series of questions, such as why we should classify the waste and how to sort them, with nearly 300 cartoon pictures.
The book was compiled by the CCECO and BMAC, and introduces how to reduce waste during daily lives, work and study in its second part, and how to sort waste in its third part.
"We compiled the book in the form of comics so children and the elderly can understand more easily," said an official from CCECO. 500,000 copies were published during the first printing and they will be handed out to every household in the 600 pilot communities free of charge. According to the previously announced goal, all the residents in the 600 communities should be educated on waste sorting knowledge and the proportion of residents dropping waste properly should reach 90 percent.