Where to discard garbage on the Great Wall?

12:58, June 20, 2011      

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The recent media coverage of William Lindesay, a British national who has persisted in picking up garbage littered on the Great Wall for 13 years, has attracted wide public attention and caused people to reflect on their thoughts. The Great Wall is a world miracle as well as a symbol and sign of the Chinese nation. People tend to think of words such as civilization, progress, reputation and harmony when looking at the Great Wall. However, the report has exposed such an embarrassing and unacceptable fact about one of the country's best known landmarks.

Ironically, the "environmentalist" is still busy in picking up garbage on the Great Wall after 13 years because garbage has never disappeared in the areas around the Great Wall, and it is an impossible mission for him to pick up all of the garbage there. The number of tourists to the Great Wall reaches nearly 1 million per year. Tourists take a massive amount of "treasure" to the Great Wall, and some of them do not bother to take them away or dispose of it properly. They perhaps neglect the trivial behavior of littering garbage. However, such neglect has made their ethical and self-cultivation level unacceptably low. What will these people tell themselves when they see the report about Lindesay's "work."

It is perhaps unnecessary to analyze the issue of the Great Wall “adorned with garbage” from the angle of the Chinese people's ethical quality, but this does not mean that this issue is not serious. The reality of whether or not the tourists' ethical quality is high has clearly been exposed on the Great Wall, where no stains and uncivilized things should appear. Furthermore, only such a contrast is strong enough to wake up so many people to review themselves and those around them and think about if you are also one of the polluters, what you should do in the future and what kinds of behaviors are civilized and noble.

There are various definitions of "civility" in dictionaries, and people can easily find thousands of research papers on this subject. Everyone has a duty to build a civilized society by adopting good habits, such as throwing garbage into a garbage can and putting recyclable waste into a recycle bin. People were taught to be civilized, and the society is also calling for civility, but civility is not as complicated as many may think. It is manifested in daily lives, and its value is accumulated with every civilized behavior.

Civility, environmental protection and health are the themes of our times. People should learn from Lindesay and stop littering on the Great Wall, in residential communities, streets, parks and other places. Furthermore, people should voluntarily pick up garbage and throw it into a garbage can. It requires both words and actions to build a civilized and harmonious society, and everyone bears a share of the responsibility for it. A society cannot be regarded as truly civilized unless everyone in it values civility.

By People's Daily Online and the author is Zhang Junqing from Guangming Daily.
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