Garbage sorting to reduce waste pollution

08:21, February 18, 2011      

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Authorities in this southern city will introduce a garbage sorting system on April 1 as part of an effort to deal with the ever-increasing amount of garbage generated by urban areas.

The regulation, which the Standing Committee of the Guangzhou People's Congress passed after soliciting public opinion, will make garbage sorting a requirement in the treatment of waste from urban areas, according to Li Tinggui, director of the Guangzhou administrative committee of urban management.

The regulation imposes a fine of at least 50 yuan ($7.60) on violators.

"The sorting system will be a key measure to reduce the amount of waste collected at its source and tackle the increasing amount of urban garbage," Li said at a press conference on Thursday.

Nearly 14,000 tons of waste are now produced each day in Guangzhou, which has a population of more than 10 million. Of that, about 11,000 tons is buried in four landfills, while the rest is burned in two large incinerators, he said.

"The increasing amount of garbage has already outnumbered the treatment capacity of existing landfills and incinerators, posing a great threat to the health of local residents," Li said.

Under the regulation, daily garbage will be sorted into four categories - recyclable garbage, kitchen garbage, harmful garbage and other types of garbage.

Kitchen garbage will be subjected to biochemical treatment. Discarded batteries will be disposed of in a manner meant to protect the environment; only garbage that is dry and has a high calorific value - meaning it releases a relatively large amount of heat during combustion - will be burned.

"The sorting system is really aimed at increasing the efficiency of recycling and reducing secondary pollution," Li said.

Guangzhou's garbage-sorting policy is believed to be the first of its kind among China's big cities. Beijing drafted a similar regulation in 2010 but isn't looking to enact it without further review.

Guangzhou, after adopting its sorting system, planned to ensure that at least 50 percent of its trash was sorted before being disposed of in a landfill or by other means, Li said.

But Huang Aihui, a Guangzhou resident, is worried about the efficiency of the system, saying it will be hard for many residents to get used to separating their trash into various categories in so short a time.

By Qiu Quanlin, China Daily
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