AS nearly 200 students gathered this weekend at Changfeng Park in Shanghai for the annual Roots and Shoots Environmental Protection Drawing Contest, officials said more could be done to raise awareness of green issues.
Volunteers from Roots and Shoots, an international non-governmental environmental protection organization, set up billboards and distributed small gifts to encourage people to contribute to their printer cartridge recycling program.
The students painted pictures about environmental problems.
"Environmental protection awareness is yet to be further improved," said Megan Li, project specialist at Shanghai Roots & Shoots.
Last April, the organization teamed up with Hewlett-Packard China to launch a cartridge recycling program in middle schools in Beijing and Shanghai.
Students were asked to put used HP cartridges in a collection box at school, rather than throwing them away. The cartridges contain residue ink that could contaminate the soil.
The collected cartridges are sent to HP, which recycle them into items such as clothes racks, soles and photo frames after decontaminating the ink.
However, Li said many people still preferred to sell the cartridges to vendors who refill the cartridges with ink.
"But people are unaware that it's difficult for refilled cartridges to be recycled, while 95 percent of ink cartridges that haven't been refilled can be used for other purposes," Li said.
Li said refilled cartridges cannot be recycled because vendors use chemicals that cannot be decontaminated.
The campaign has so far collected 500 cartridges. Worldwide, the campaign has collected 91 million.
(Shanghai Daily July 3, 2006)