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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Cleaning subway a Herculean job

By  Dong Zhen   (Shanghai Daily)

13:36, March 01, 2012

WITH one hand holding a dustpan attached to a long handle and two big tool bags hanging around the other shoulder, Zhu Xuezhen, a 49-year-old short-figured woman and sanitation worker on the local Metro, took small but quick steps like a cleaning robot on a Line 2 train in the Guanglan Road station yesterday afternoon.

She was allowed no more than a couple of minutes, or one Metro stop's travel interval, to collect as much litter as possible from all eight carriages she cruised through before she had to hop on a return train running on the opposite track to repeat the task.

Zhu and two colleagues, all middle-aged women, told Shanghai Daily they work 11 hours a day at dizzying speed and are barely allowed major breaks. But still, their speed seemed far from sufficient to handle the heavy amount of waste dumped on the trains - mostly food and drink leftovers, plastic bags and advertising fliers.

"You just take your time. I really have to hurry up," Zhu told the reporter as she paced toward the end of the train. She swiftly moved across the crowd and nodded to a seated passenger, tipping him by gesture to move aside so that she could pick up a food package dumped on the window frame behind. Zhu was highly skilled, but she still missed a half-eaten steamed bun lying in front of the nearby train gate, likely to pollute the shoes of the first incomer at the next stop.

As the city's Metro traffic volume continues breaking records, train littering is becoming more of a nuisance, drawing riders' complaints and pressuring the limited sanitation manpower.

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Leave your comment2 comments

  1. Name

PD User at 2012-03-02115.133.76.*
I am an overseas Chinese and I visited China a few years ago. Littering is a bad habit even our school kids here in my country know it. I have friends in China who are university graduates and yet they are freely throw away anything on the streets instead of dropping rubbish into dustbins. I really look down upon the dirty habits of the Chinese people. China may be prosperous but the quality of the Chinese people leaves a lot to be desired.
sunny at 2012-03-01218.25.204.*
I remember that when I was a child, there were some person who maintained the sanitation,and there was a red cloth ring on their arms,when someone throwed out some rubbish, they would forbidded it, and fined them. I remember that the public place is very cleaning in that time. Of couse, in that time, there were lot of dustbins everywhere, you could easy threw the rubbish into the dustbins. But now, I am hard to find a dustbin for the rubbish. And I cann"t find a person to maintain the sanitation order. So I suggest that we should rebuild the order to maintain the sanitation.

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