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Ningbo spares no effort to make garbage classification a rural “new fashion”
2019-06-08Text Size: A A A

Garbage classification, the key to the people’s livelihood, is also a major event for green development. In rural areas, garbage classification can not only improve the living environment and ecological civilization level, but also consolidate and deepen the achievements of beautiful rural construction. Among the “three major revolutions” such as the rural sewage revolution, the garbage revolution, and the toilet revolution, the garbage revolution is both a difficult problem and a key point because of its wide range of involvement.
Promoting waste classification method
At 5 o’clock in the morning on last Saturday, Chen Yuanchao drove to Gaoni village, Huang Bi’ao township, Xiangshan county, and he skillfully used the empty buckets on the car to replace the four garbage bins at the garbage disposal point. Every day from 3’o click early in the morning, Chen and his two partners took action separately through the beautiful coastline, transferring the garbage bins of 16 villages to the township garbage transfer station by means of “empty barrel-for-full barrel”. “The garbage classification in the village is doing quite well and the classification as well as the delivery of the garbage are very accurate, especially for kitchen waste, plastic bags are rarely seen in the dustbins.” Chen said.
Known as “the first village of net cage cultivation in Zhejiang province”, the villagers also turned the Gaoni village into a “big garden” while exploiting the sea and fishing. They spare no efforts to plant flowers and trees on each stone road and on the farmhouse, with a vivid yellow fish as wall painting, making each courtyard a landscape.
At 9 o’clock in the morning, Ou Yuefang, the villager, dressed in red volunteer costume, came to a garbage disposal site in the village. The antique pavilion contained four bins of kitchen waste, recyclables, other garbage and harmful garbage, corresponding to green, blue, black, and red. She opened the lid separately and probed the garbage bin carefully. “the major target of the inspection is on the kitchen waste bin. Make sure there is no other waste in it, and if there is, pick it out. ” She said.
On the top of the trash cans of different colors, there are notices with text lists and patterns of the items to be placed at the drop points, which are conspicuous and easily identifiable.
As a garbage sorter in the village, every day at 9 am and 7 pm, Ms. Ou goes to 7 disposal points to check the garbage delivery. “Our village promoted the ‘four-sorting bins’ method. At the beginning , the villagers often misplaced the garbage. Once we find the mistake, we will correct them. After two years of publicity and practice, the villagers rarely make mistakes now.” Ou said .
Since June 2017, Huang Bi’ao township began to carry out the pilot project of rural domestic waste classification. At present, the coverage rate of garbage in the township reaches 100%, with a garbage recovery rate of 32.9% and a classification accuracy rate of over 90%. “In order to realize the reduction, harmlessness and resource utilization of garbage, the key is to achieve reasonable classification at the source. An operation method that is easy for the people to accept and easy to memorize is crucial. After multiple inspections and comparisons, we chose the‘four-sorting bins’ method,” said Lai Wenhao, deputy secretary of the party committee of Huang Bi’ao township.
“The villagers only need to put two types of garbage bins in their homes, namely kitchen waste and other garbage. The amount of hazardous waste, such as batteries, is very small and villagers will collect them.” Chen Laifeng, head of the village, came to the villager Shen Meijuan’s home. He said that the villagers took two buckets to the garbage drop points, divided the garbage into four categories, and put them into different garbage bins.
Entering the villager uncle Shen’s house, the kitchen garbage can is empty. “The leftover breakfast has already been dropped into the drop points.” uncle Shen, who is in his 70s, has a thorough understanding of “four-sorting bins” method. He also said that, “Things that don’t rot should not be put into kitchen waste. In particular, the plastic bags should be picked out. Items such as waste newspapers, waste plastics, used clothes, metal, and waste glass should be placed in recyclable garbage bins.”
Garbage Sorting—a War Fought Step by Step
Before the promotion of the importance of garbage sorting, Huangbi’ao Village has made full preparation. Party members from the village and other villagers were sent to Xilifang Village in Qiangtou Town and Shengwangzhang Village to visit and learn from them, publicity materials were handed out in the village and organized learning and instruction activities were carried out.
 “Garbage soring demands our unremitting effort. This is a tough nut to crack in that it’s no easy job to change people’s habits. There are quite a lot of senior citizens in our village, and it takes a while for them to get hold of garbage sorting process. When garbage sorting activity was first promoted, I was always there guiding villagers to classify their garbage.” said Shen Meijuan who helps garbage classification in her community.
The garbage classification administration in Huangbi’ao Village is organized into four levels. “Every village stands as a one general unit with the secretary of the village party branch and the director of the village committee as the leaders; the general unit then is divided into small units, each of them composed of 10 to 25 households.” Lai Wenhao said that the whole village is divided into 180 small units, each with a garbage dump site. Leaders in the village will fall under the jurisdiction of the unit geographically closest to them and take on the administration duty. “Garbage sorting instructors often need to give door-to-door instructions and needs to ensure the full coverage of
On the wall beside the garbage dump site are the phone numbers and main duties of people in charge. “When noncompliance with the regulations is found, villagers can make a phone call and report it.” said Shen Meijuan.
 “Garbage sorting needs to be promoted step by step. It should begin with village leaders and then spread to villagers,” said Zhu Zhonghua, secretary of the party branch of Gaoni Village. “The leading role of Party members plays a decisive role in garbage classification. Party members, village leaders and villager representatives should take the lead and provide guidance.” When garbage sorting was under way in 2017, party members in villages often gave guidance and inspections, making great efforts to let garbage sorting become a habit among villagers.”
Shen Meijuan still has vivid recollections of that period of time. “Villagers usually take out their trash twice, once in the morning and the other in the evening, and I was there checking whether each household classified their garbage and I would also point out where they needed improvement. Two months later, to classify garbage into 4 basic types became a common practice among villagers,” Shen Meijuan said as she opened a trash can for kitchen waste. “Now you will no longer see any
“Party member, volunteers and garbage sorting instructors should play their roles in guiding the inclusion of garbage sorting in the regulations of different villages and enhancing self-discipline.” said Liao Wenhao. Garbage sorting has been through different stages in Gaoni Village. It started with Party members taking the lead and moved on to voluntary work and to villagers keeping alignment.
Villagers in Gaoni Village now wear many hats — not only the participants, reviewers and beneficiaries of garbage sorting but also inspectors and leaders. “Some villagers only stay during the Spring Festival, but their relatives and friends would also remind them to sort out their garbage,” said Ou Yuefang. “It is acknowledged that the environment in our village with less mosquitoes and flies has improved after the promotion of garbage sorting. Villagers now enjoy a more comfortable life.”
Complete the garbage-sorting system, build a closed loop of rural waste treatment
To sort and put different garbage into different trash cans is just the first step to deal with rural domestic garbage.
After carrying trash cans to the waste transfer station, Chen Yuanchao, a dustman, will sort all garbage out and deal with it with different methods. First, he puts kitchen garbage to the garbage disposal station. After opening and entering the station, a cloud of steam greets him, and it is not pungent or smelly at all. Chen comes out and finds that there are ten such garbage disposal stations.
“Every garbage disposal station can hold 20 tons of garbage. Thanks to the technical assistance from Tongji University, from which the County Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Affairs has sought help, the composting period is shortened from 60 days to 40 days, improving the composting rate.” Lai tells us that this set of equipment is able to handle 1.6 tons kitchen waste a day, and can meet the garbage disposal need of sixteen villages.
Other garbage Chen has carried to the station is transferred to sorting man Chen Guangming. In the sorting shed, thanks to Li’s hard work, things like cardboard, glass bottles, ring-pull cans, plastic bottles, and foam boxes are neatly packed.
After that, sorted garbage will be compressed and packed, and be transported to landfills by special vehicles. Recyclable articles will be sorted out from kitchen garbage, and the more we sort out, the less garbage will be carried to landfills. Lai introduces that in 2017 when garbage sorting was firstly advocated, Huangbiaoxiang transported over 300 tons garbage to landfills per month, but in 2018, that number went down to 190, registering a 33.7% decrease.
The amount of garbage reduction indicates whether garbage sorting is successful or not. “To promote garbage sorting in rural areas, we need to focus on source classification. However, the key lies in establishing a set of complete and efficient waste disposal system, and building a closed loop of rural waste disposal to produce less garbage, make garbage less harmful to the environment, and recycle as much as garbage.” The garbage revolution aims at beautifying our home and protecting the environment, as well as reducing the amount of garbage sent to landfills or incinerators, said a person from the Municipal Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.
In Xiangshan County, the year 2017 witnessed 91,420 tons rural domestic waste sent to landfills, going down by 124 compared to 2016; 2018 saw 838,780, decreasing by 7,542 tons or 8.9% compared to 2017. “The promotion of garbage sorting has brought significant garbage amount reduction to Xiangshan.” said a person from the County Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.
Huangbiaoxiang is going to upgrade its current garbage disposal station into a comprehensive garbage disposal complex that can handle kitchen garbage, sort out other kind of garbage, compress and pack garbage, and recycle some garbage. “We will invite companies specialized in garbage recycling to collect garbage from all villages in arranged time and with agreed prices, and sort out recyclable garbage in the new garbage disposal complex.” said Lai.
“We are doing very well in reducing the amount of rural domestic garbage, and we don’t have so much room for improvement in this regard. So, we need to focus on recycling,” said a person from Xiangshan County Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, “when it comes to large and low value-added garbage like foam and glass in particular, if professional garbage disposal companies can collect such garbage and prevent it from being sent to landfills, the environment will face much less pressure.”
Xiangshan implements strategies to realize the recycling of garbage
“Xiangshan has explored a low-cost, replicable way to classify rural garbage. Up to now, garbage classification has achieved nearly 90% coverage of constructed villages, but there is still a lot of improvement to be made.” The responsible person of Xiangshan Agricultural and Rural Bureau believes that regional imbalance and imperfect recycling system are the biggest shortcomings.
It is urgent to accelerate the coverage of rural garbage classification.The rural area requires more propagandists, supervisors, assistants coming to the villages for its large scale. With different degrees of emphasis from different places, villages vary from each other. In addition, the formation of farmers' habit of classification needs a process. At the beginning of promoting garbage classification, many villagers feel inadaptable, inconvenient, and even conflicting. Irregular classification and delivery often occur. “Waste classification will occur repeatedly. More publicity and supervision constant efforts are needed.” Chen Laifeng said, “Garbage classification also needs villagers to ‘step by step’. As long as one villager throws plastic bags into the kitchen waste bin, the quality of garbage classification will be greatly reduced”.
In Xiangshan, the terminal mode of rural domestic waste classification is diversified. In addition to composting in sunshine house, there are models of incineration, landfill, machine composting, low temperature composting, anaerobic biogas production, tadpole digestion and microbial degradation in the city. This requires local conditions, according to the total amount of garbage and natural conditions, to choose the appropriate way of disposal.
   At present, all parts of the city pay more attention to the utilization of kitchen waste resources and in-situ fertilization, and lack of an orderly disposal system for recyclable garbage such as plastics, rubber, glass, metal, leather and clothing, old electrical appliances, old furniture, etc. The participation of recycling companies is not high, which leads to the low recycling efficiency of garbage, thus affecting the enthusiasm of farmers for source classification.
 “Low value-added waste tends to be bulky and commercial companies are not very interested in these items because of the cost. It is worth discussing how to consume these items and reduce them to the maximum extent through the intervention of the government and combined with the means of marketization.” Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Areas Rural Social Undertakings Promotion Department responsible person said.
At present, Xiangshan plans to build a town-level renewable resource recycling site, and strive to set up a professional recycling site in every town and township, with emphasis on supporting and cultivating renewable resource recycling enterprises such as “helping  with a hand”, and activating the enthusiasm of the whole recycling link through the form of “marketization + appropriate government subsidies”.

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