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What's China's approach to improving waste management?


 , Updated 16:25, 30-Mar-2024


In Taizhou City of Zhejiang, 74-year-old fisherman Chen Xiafang earned extra income over the past six months.

"Every day, I spend my spare time picking up plastic waste on the coastline and sending it to Little Blue House, which gives me a monthly payment of around 700 yuan," said Chen. The Little Blue House is a marine garbage treatment site responsible for recycling and sorting marine plastic waste.

China's program to process marine plastic waste, based on the collaboration of more than 6,000 individuals and over 200 enterprises from the eastern province of Zhejiang, won in 2023 the UN's most prestigious environmental recognition.

The program visually traces the recycling and remanufacturing process of marine plastics and benefits the participating fishermen while effectively cutting down pollution in coastal waters.

Since the beginning of the project, more than 61,600 people have participated, and a total of about 10,936 tons of marine debris have been collected, including about 2,254 tons of plastic waste, according to Lang Wenrong, director of the Ecological Environment Department of Zhejiang Province.

Today is International Zero Waste Day, which highlights the need to improve global waste management and promote sustainable consumption and production habits.

The United Nations General Assembly, in its 77th session, decided on December 14, 2022, to declare March 30, 2022, International Day of Zero Waste, to be marked on that day each year.

China has been investing heavily in infrastructure and technology to improve waste management practices. The country has been exploring innovative solutions such as waste-to-energy plants and advanced recycling facilities to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills.

The government in east China's Zhejiang Province recently issued the "Zhejiang Food Delivery Plastic Zero Waste Program" to promote the reduction and recycling of plastic used in food delivery.

The plan specifies that by the end of 2023, a "zero waste" operational model for food delivery plastics should be established in key areas such as universities.

By the end of 2025, this model should be actively promoted in various areas, including schools, commercial buildings, and communities.

According to the plan, Zhejiang will bring together various stakeholders, including food delivery platforms, merchants, university representatives, disposal enterprises, restaurant associations and recycling associations, to jointly establish a province-wide alliance for reducing plastic in food delivery.

Zhejiang will also set up waste collection facilities in areas with high amounts of plastic waste from food delivery. For instance, food delivery platform companies will be responsible for appropriately configuring collection facilities in areas with a significant amount of plastic waste, such as university dormitories and cafeterias, with universities managing the later operation and maintenance of these facilities.

(With input from Xinhua)

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