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Shanghai NGO launches 'green campaign'

2014-07-02 09:57 Xinhua Web Editor: Mo Hong'e

Dubbed "green housewives," a group of CPC members in Shanghai have won recognition for grassroots initiatives that have included weaving with waste, creating their own solar and wind power system, and planting crops on urban rooftops.

With Green Housewives now registered as a non-government organization (NGO), the ladies who are participating in the "green campaign" are also an example of the CPC's appetite for such altruistic organizations.

Tuesday marked the 93th birthday of the Communist Party of China.

"We are not necessarily wealthy, but many of us have plenty of time," said Shang Yanhua, Party head of the residential community of the Meilong Third Village in Shanghai's Xuhui District. She believes that doing good is the key if community activities are to attract public participation.

In the 2,300-household Meilong Third Village, filled mostly with people who have resettled from downtown Shanghai, a third of the residents are middled-aged and senior citizens.

Shang organized volunteers to collect discarded milk boxes and sew them together to make shopping bags or aprons. They have likewise recycled wool from unwanted sweaters and re-weaved it into new ones after disinfection.

Most of the products are used by group members themselves or donated to the needy or people who have made efforts for environmental protection.

With such methods, the neighborhood has managed to recycle dozens of tonnes of garbage over the past year.

Shang and her fellow volunteers also invited locals to plant vegetables in the community or at home, in "one-square-meter farming lots."

"The green housewives promote environmental protection and public welfare, and many of our middle-aged and elderly people enjoy participating," said a resident surnamed Song who tends one of the lots.

Among the 1,000-plus "farmers" are retirees, white-collar workers and children, who are responsible for ridging, watering and fertilizing.

In 2011, Shang contacted Beijing Global Village Environmental Education Center, an NGO engaged in green efforts in residential communities. The chief of the center visited Meilong Third Village and offered 100,000 yuan ($16,010) in a funding boost.

In 2012, the work of the community in cooperation with the center was recognized by the Ministry of Science and Technology, which awarded them 200,000 yuan.

Learning of the achievements of the housewives, UNESCO then used them as a case study in a conference about community education on environmental protection in 2013.

Shang and other CPC members registered the Green Housewives NGO the same year.

In March last year, the State Council, China's cabinet, officially encouraged the development of social organizations engaged in science, public welfare and community services.

Shang has high hopes for the effect of this policy. "Grassroots CPC members, through cooperation with social organizations or creation of their own social organizations, can positively influence the general public," she said.

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