China has vowed to intensify nationwide initiatives to promote trash sorting practices, aiming to enhance civic literacy and develop an environment-friendly lifestyle among citizens, officials said recently.
Speaking at a national-level working conference held in Qingdao, Shandong province on Tuesday, Ni Hong, minister of housing and urban-rural development, emphasized the need for comprehensive grassroots efforts to raise awareness and understanding of trash sorting practices.
Ni highlighted the active participation of volunteers in trash sorting activities, the organization of public events and the integration of trash sorting education into school curricula to inspire younger generations.
"These collective efforts have successfully generated public interest and concern regarding trash sorting practices," said Ni.
Official data revealed that by the end of last year, trash sorting had been implemented in 297 cities at or above the prefecture level across China, with residential compounds achieving an average coverage rate of 82.5 percent.
The goal for this year is to surpass 90 percent coverage, with complete nationwide coverage targeted by the end of 2025, according to the working conference.
Significant progress has also been made in building facilities and recycling waste, with a daily solid waste processing capacity of 530,000 metric tons, of which 77.6 percent is handled through incineration.
Officials stressed the importance of aligning trash sorting practices with legal support and the utilization of advanced technologies in future endeavors.
In Beijing, trash-sorting management has been integrated with the city's property management regulations and standards of civilized conduct.
Xu Li, deputy director of the Beijing Commission of Urban Management, revealed that over 80 policies have been implemented to enforce trash sorting across various sectors, including restaurants, supermarkets, hospitals, schools, hotels, tourist attractions, e-commerce platforms and delivery services.
Qingdao, which initiated citywide trash sorting efforts in 2017, has adopted big data technology in its trash sorting management.
In the city's West Coast New Area, also known as Huangdao district, urban management workers utilize data collected from 36,000 garbage trucks and waste facilities, which can be accessed in real time through a cloud platform.
Additionally, waste bins are equipped with chips that allow trucks to identify them. Jiang Ailing, an official from the district's urban management bureau, explained that the cloud system issues warnings if a truck is transporting inappropriate garbage based on unmatched information.
Furthermore, in a unique initiative, over 500,000 residents in the district are encouraged to take photos of their garbage cans at home. These images are submitted through a WeChat mini program, where an artificial intelligence-powered system evaluates the proper sorting practices.
"Residents who consistently adhere to correct sorting methods earn credits, which can be redeemed for daily necessities at nearby supermarkets or grocery stores," Jiang said.