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Recycling of Household Waste Urged
Segregated rubbish should be further encouraged in China to cope with the increasing amount of urban household waste, an expert with the Ministry of Construction has said.

Wu Wenwei, deputy director of the Environment and Sanitation Research Center under the ministry, noted in an interview with China Daily that segregated collection is the most urgent task, and also an effective way for the country to deal with its surge of urban household waste.

Official statistics show that urban household waste in China totals 120 million tons annually.

According to Wu, only 15 percent of household rubbish in Beijing has been separately collected before being sent to rubbish plants for disposal.

Such a ratio is expected to reach 50 percent by the end of 2007 as the capital works towards preparations for the 2008 Olympic Games.

The ministry has also urged local governments to popularize waste recycling for years although no dramatic progress has been witnessed, according to Wu.

Wu urged the media to "play a bigger role" in improving public awareness when it comes to the segregated collection of household refuse.

But he also admitted that China's household waste is much more difficult to separate than rubbish in Western countries - due to the traditional diet and cooking style of the Chinese.

Segregated collection helps achieve a better method of rubbish collection and therefore reduces pollution.

Statistics with the State Environmental Protection Administration said China's solid waste has become a major source of pollution - with a discharge of nearly 10 million tons of "hazardous" industrial solid refuse around the country.

Landfill, incineration and compost are the three main ways for disposing of household rubbish.

Among the three, landfill is the most popular in China, with more than 85 percent of the country's household waste being buried in rubbish plants after disposal.

Many refuse plants around the country suffer from a lack of appropriate equipment and technology and still lack strict and efficient management, Wu said.

(China Daily June 3, 2002)

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