Beijing Starts Waste Classification | Experts: Fine is Not a Method, but a Penalty Mechanism is Required

“Where should I dump these?”, a young man asks.


“Is it a take-out? Throe food in the ‘Kitchen Garbage’ can, other in the ‘Other Garbage’. Thanks!”, Ms. Yan says. She is the instructor of garbage classification.


This is what the reporter of Jiemian (The Cover) News has witnessed at the disposal site in Dongzongbu Hutong on May 1.


Following Shanghai, Beijing has embraced the mandatory garbage sorting as the municipal House Refuse Management Regulation (hereinafter referred to as Regulation) officially implements.


(Photo credit: The Cover News)

How to make citizens adapt to the transformation? How can we promote the garbage classification process? Reporter of Jiemian News has interviewed Feng Jianguo, the former Director of Resource Planning Department of Beijing Municipal Research Center for Rural Economy, and Zhou Jinfeng, Secretary-General of China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation (CBCGDF). They believe it is essential to strengthening publicity for improving awareness of citizens and enterprises. Besides, it is necessary to tighten supervision and punish violators.


Residents generally follow the principle of garbage classification.


Recently, the reporter of Jiemian News has paid a visit to Dongzongbu Hutong in Dongcheng District and No. 52 building, Zhongshan Street in Tongzhou District to check how is it going with garbage sorting.


On May 1, the reporter saw two garbage cans at the disposal site in Dongzongbu Hutong, respectively indicated “Kitchen Garbage” and “Other Garbage”. Ms. Yan says that she has been helping the garbage sorting for residents since April 27, “Everyone is cooperative. I also popularize the classification knowledge to those who dump the garbage.”


On April 28, the reporter met Mr. Ma Jincheng, the garbage sorting director, in front of the No. 52 buildings of Zhoushan Street, Tongzhou District. He has been on the duty from April 1, giving out brochures and helping people to classify garbage. “In the beginning, many residents didn’t get accustomed to the change and throw garbage without sorting. But after a month, I noted three-fifths people can drop garbage into the corresponding cans. Those who don’t sort garbage would cooperate on the classification under my assistance.”


Mr. Feng Jianguo shares his views on how to adopt people to the transformation. Firstly, the meeting of household waste sorting and property management was held on April 24, requiring to assign the duty of garbage classification to property management company because only when the company shoulder the responsibility can we effectively promote the work of garbage sorting. Secondly, we need to do continuous promotions. “The more promotions we carry out, the more operation cost can be saved.” Thirdly, the Beijing Municipal Comprehensive Law-enforcing Bureau of City Administration will conduct a three-month special campaign from May 1 to July 31, which will help develop the habit of garbage sorting for the public.


(Photo credit: The Cover News)

Zhou Jinfeng agrees that to enhance publicity can improve people’s self-consciousness on garbage sorting. Besides, it’s of importance to have strict supervision, giving penalties or rewards following the Regulation. “Public participation is important. If more people can participate in the supervision, the implementation of the Regulation would be effective.”


However, Feng Jianguo and Zhou Jinfeng also express that challenges would pop up in the implementation of garbage sorting policy even though preparatory work is thoughtful. “We need to fully realize that because it takes time for lifestyle transformation.”


Penalty serves as an approach rather than a purpose.


The reporter notes that the penalty has been repeatedly mentioned in the Regulation. Article 67, for instance, regulates that the municipal law-enforcing bureau of city administration is entitled to impose a fine from 50 yuan to 200 yuan on individuals in violation of the garbage sorting.


Zhou Jinfeng approves of the penalty mechanism. “Beijing is imposing a heavier penalty than Shanghai. This is accountability, aiming to help develop a good lifestyle. If the sanctions can be implemented thoroughly, the Regulation will be very effective.”


Feng Jianguo believes that to impose a fine can be served as an approach, but it is not the purpose. He says, “In some countries, people need to pay for the garbage recycling, for example, purchasing special garbage bags as the disposal fees are included in the price of bags. Some countries impose the penalty on individuals and enterprises that violate garbage classification. Some are encouraging neighboring supervision, thus improving people’s self- consciousness.


Feng Jianguo says, “it is necessary to impose a fine for those with poor self- consciousness, but it is undoable to reply on the economic penalty. It requires further discussion on the implementation because the penalty cost is high.”


(Photo credit: The Cover News)

To increase the waste recovery rate.


The reporter sees the garbage sorting station in front of the No. 52 Building at the Zhongshan Street, Tongzhou District, is divided into four sections, respectively marked as Toxic Garbage, Recyclable Garbage, Other Garbage, and Kitchen Garbage. Each section is equipped with a detailed description.


Zhou Jinfeng points out that the recycling mode of old cloth and used books are well-developed, which achieves great garbage reduction and has a positive effect on the ecology and environment.


“The more detailed garbage sorting has been conducted, the higher the recovery rate is. To keep increasing the recycling rate is the final goal of garbage classification.” Feng says, “we need to consider the economic possibility of lifting the rate. For the treatment of some special garbage, we should also consider the economic cost. Plastic foam is recyclable, but few would like to the recycling work due to the high cost of collection and transportation. So, relevant departments should work together to solve the problem. For example, if environmental protection measure is prepared, is it possible to set up primary processing stations for recyclable resources utilization in the suburbs?”


Original Chinese article:

By / Wang Yanqing Modified / Maggie




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