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November 21, 2018

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No more trash talk, it’s time for trash action

For years, people have been accustomed to lugging their household trash to the nearest garbage station and tossing it into a massive bin already over brimming with stinking, festering rubbish.

It was once quite an effective system, but today the emphasis is no longer on simply collecting household waste and dumping it in some distant landfill. Today good citizens are expected not only to reduce the amount of trash they generate, but to put different kinds of trash in different receptacles. And if they don’t, they could be throwing away 200 yuan (US$30).

Shanghai expects everyone to be sorting their domestic garbage by 2020, and individuals could face fines of up to 200 yuan if they do not, according to draft garbage management regulations, which began a second review by the city’s legislative body yesterday.

Companies and individuals are to be made legally responsible for sorting their own trash with the onus on keeping recyclables, non-recyclables and hazardous waste apart. Individuals who refuse to sort will be fined up to 200 yuan, companies up to 50,000 yuan.

Hotels have also been told to stop providing disposable items like slippers and shower caps unless guests specifically ask for them.

And not only do those who produce the trash have to clean up their act, garbage transportation companies have their roles to play.

Garbage trucks and ships must have real-time monitoring, be airtight and used exclusively for transporting trash. Companies can refuse refuse that has not been properly sorted and when they find messy trash, they should report it.

Collecting or transporting garbage without a license will cost up to 100,000 yuan. Mixing sorted and unsorted trash during collection or transportation could mean another 100,000 yuan fine. Licenses will be revoked in serious cases.

Those who aspire to treat and ultimately dispose of the city’s dreck mountain will be looking at fines of up to 500,000 yuan for unsorting that which was previously sorted.

The new rules regulate every stage in the domestic garbage sorting chain from the doorstep to landfill or treatment center, said Deng Jianping, director of Shanghai Greenery and Public Sanitation Bureau.

Domestic garbage has grown by more than 3 percent each year in the city since 2001. Nearly 7.5 million tons of trash is handled annually.

About 3.8 million households have registered for “green accounts” which award points for sorting garbage into appropriate bins that can then be redeemed for daily staples like milk and soap, or against utility bill payments.

More than 60 percent of the residential complexes in the city have already started some form of waste classification.


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