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April 27, 2011

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Residents to pay for garbage

Shanghai is to consider a scheme to charge households to dispose of their domestic waste.

Public sanitation authorities, the city's pricing bureau and other government departments are to hold talks after the State Council, China's Cabinet, issued a plan to reduce the volume of trash and promote environmentally friendly processing.

The plan stipulates that each province and municipality should work out details of such a scheme by August.

Since 2005, Shanghai has been charging commercial organizations to collect their waste, a charge that brings in around 500 million yuan (US$76.6 million) a year. But it doesn't charge households.

The State Council drew up its plan in response to the rapid increase in the amount of domestic waste and the lack of adequate treatment facilities.

Shanghai aims to reduce the amount of trash that needs to be processed by 5 percent annually from this year and realize at least a 20 percent reduction by 2015 and 50 percent in 2020, according to the city's greenery and public sanitation bureau.

At present, Shanghai can only process around 10,000 tons of waste a day in an environment-friendly fashion, excluding industrial waste, while the city produces almost double that amount.

Expanding processing facilities, limiting over-packaging, promoting trash sorting and recycling and charging are all useful measures to achieve that aim, officials said.

Environmentally friendly

According to the national plan, smaller cities should realize environmentally friendly treatment of 80 percent of domestic waste by 2015. Municipalities and capital cities have to be able to properly treat all waste by then, with 50 percent of it recycled.

By 2030, all cities should achieve quality treatment of all domestic waste and have a sorting system in operation.

The plan also calls for a reduction in waste right from the start of production by using clean energy, limiting over-packaging, using recycled packaging, promoting recycled bags for food shopping and reducing disposable items at hotels and restaurants.

Shanghai is already addressing the over-packaging issue and city officials have ordered relevant departments to study the problem and come up with effective measures.

The quality treatment capacity of daily garbage will also be improved to 20,000 tons per day in 2012 and 27,000 tons in five years to meet demand, the local public sanitation bureau said.

A pilot household waste-reduction campaign in 18 sub-districts and towns across the city is to be launched this year to relieve the workload on garbage treatment centers and raise efficiency.


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