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April 22, 2011

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Trash treatment will be expanded

THE city government plans to nearly double garbage treatment capacity in the next five years by setting up new processing centers in more districts and upgrading technologies.

Trash in Shanghai is now handled by 10 processing sites adopting various treatment methods. The capacity is far below what is needed due to a growing population and urbanization.

High-tech plants will be built in the Pudong New Area, Jinshan, Fengxian, Jiading, Minhang and Songjiang districts as well as on Chongming and Changxing islands, said Ma Yun'an, director of the Shanghai Greenery and Public Sanitation Bureau.

"We are now searching for the most suitable locations to build the plants," Ma said.

Local experts will decide on the technologies used - from burning waste to dumping pre-treated trash in landfills to prevent harm to the environment.

"The expansion is also to prevent a looming environmental crisis in Laogang Town, where the city's key garbage processing center is located," Ma said.

The Laogang landfill center now handles nearly 53 percent of the city's daily garbage. It has a designed capacity of 4,900 tons per day, but processed nearly 10,000 tons of waste each day on average last year.

The quality of garbage treatment itself would not be affected by over-capacity, but delays in treatment raise pollution risks in Laogang, Ma said.

In a recent investigation, reporters found townspeople complained about the awful stench from the treatment plant. Experts have also warned of the risk of underground water pollution in the area due to over-capacity.

The new plants are expected to help ease the pressure.

With technical upgrades and facility expansion, the government also plans to improve the quality of garbage treatment to reduce pollution.

It's expected that by 2015, more than 95 percent of daily waste could be treated and made harmless to the environment after being burned or dumped. Currently, only about 85 percent of Shanghai's nearly 20,000 tons of daily trash is treated to reduce pollution. The rest is buried after only limited precautions are taken.

Quality treatment capacity of daily garbage is aimed to improve from 11,150 tons per day to 27,000 tons in five years, the greenery bureau said.

The bureau will also further promote garbage sorting among households in a bid to relieve the workload for garbage factories and raise efficiency.

Authorities said to make things easy while the concept is still new to most, families will only need to separate wet and dry waste.


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