Home / Environment / Opinions Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read | Comment
Garbage is piling up in world of disposables
Adjust font size:

By Wan Lixin

We are not only contributing to the expanding and encroaching landfills, but also doing it in ever-more creative ways.

During my weekend train trip to Hangzhou, each passenger was given a bottle of water containing purest H20 from glaciers in the Tibetan Plateau.

I marveled at the stupendous energy consumed in shipping the water from glaciers to the bullet train to say nothing of the devastating environmental impacts and genuinely hope the claim was a lie.

A marketing professor once observed to me that Evian water exemplifies perfectly what pure marketing can achieve: A substance that is same everywhere in the world is branded as one of the most aspirational luxuries today.

To be seen casually grabbing a bottle of Evian can be classy, if your interests in the bottle do not go beyond the magic dustbin where the bottles ultimately land.

A couple of days ago I was offered a bag of chestnuts chestnuts deprived of their original shells and reclad in small plastic bags another instance of human ingenuity.

Ten years ago on a train, when I first saw a lady peel an orange and then consign the rind to a red plastic bag, I was mesmerized by her delicacy.

For more than 10 years now, in my limited experience, we have already packaged sunflower seeds, preserved fruits, biscuits, chopsticks, towels, in additional to all industrial products what next?

We have grown addicted to packaged items, because our perceptions of civilization and prosperity are based on these packaging materials, or as Dr Tian Song claims, based on trash.

The degree of a human being's civilization can be reliably measured by the amount of trash he/she produces.

One of the most condescending attitudes a civilized being regularly assumes over his less fortunate cousins is his higher sanitation standards.

Early last century Jay Denby said in his "Letters of a Shanghai Griffin" that "I must inform you that their (the farmers') time is spent mainly in the vocation of agriculture, the chief productions therefrom being smells, graves, and rice, in the order named."

He went on to say that "the farmer who succeeds in making his land smell more abominably than his neighbor's is looked upon with respect, admiration, and envy by the surrounding population."

This gentleman was so polite that he took great pains to avoid specifying the source of this smell, but for the sake of clarity I must add that the substance in question was human excrement and urine that since time immemorial have been used to fertilize the Chinese farm fields.

Most of the farmers now have switched to chemical fertilizers.

As late as in the early 1980s in my native village in north Jiangsu there were still rustic youths specialized in picking up ordure on the roads, with human feces particularly prized.

One of my cousins entrusted with this job used to make surreptitious raids on public latrines, which was considered public property.

Mr Denby might never know that this is the only truly green way of disposing of human excrement in which it is fully recycled and assimilated by crops.

If Mr Denby was asked what had become of his excrement, he might have replied, well, it is disposed of by the flush toilet.

1   2    

Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read Bookmark and Share
Pet Name

China Archives
Related >>
- Clean green garbage machine
- How to get folks to sort garbage, not dump it
- Dumping garbage to the 3rd world
- Shanghai's Pudong treats its garbage cleanly
- Environment ministry urges proper disposal of garbage
- Guerrilla war on garbage
NGO Events Calendar Tips
- The Eco Design Fair 2009
- Environmental English Training (EET) class
- Hand in hand to protect endangered animals and plants
- Changchun, Mini-marathon Aimed at Protecting Siberian Tiger
- Water Walk by Nature University
Sichuan Earthquake

An earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale jolted Sichuan Province at 2:28 PM on May 12.

Panda Facts
A record 28 panda cubs born via artificial insemination have survived in 2006.
South China Karst
Rich and unique karst landforms located in south China display exceptional natural beauty.
Saving the Tibetan Antelopes
The rare animals survive in the harsh natural environment of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.
Laws & Regulations
- Forestry Law of the People's Republic of China
- Meteorology Law of the People's Republic of China
- Fire Control Law of the People's Republic of China
- Law on Protecting Against and Mitigating Earthquake Disasters
- Law of the People's Republic of China on Conserving Energy
State Environmental Protection Administration
Ministry of Water Resources
Ministry of Land and Resources
China Environmental Industry Network
Chengdu Giant Panda Research Base