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Plastic Recycling in Beijing

Beijing

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Capital of The People’s Republic of China, Beijing is home to over 27 million people, making it the world’s second most populous city and most populous capital city. The challenges Beijing has to face in the area of waste management are ginormous. Beijing also makes huge dumps of waste plastic daily which causes air and water pollution. And huge quantities of this waste makes it difficult to handle.

Plastic waste of China

China makes about one third of the world’s plastic waste. It also puts a strain on the oceans by throwing a huge chunk of its wastes in them. Beijing produces about 1600 tons of waste daily, and plastic is a major part of this waste. This problem is growing bigger and bigger daily thanks to the ever growing population and constantly changing lifestyle of this mega city.

Recycling, A Business in Beijing

Many locals of this city are directly connected to this process. Many people in Beijing make their living by collecting the waste plastic products like plastic bottles, toothbrushes, pins, barrels, shopping bags and even syringes from the heaps of garbage around the rural areas and then they transfer it to the assigned workers to recycle it. Plastic pieces are hand-picked, cleaned and broken before melting them down in the furnaces for further use by converting them into small granules. This self-driven recycling process is carried out by many mills constructed in the rural areas of many provinces. And these mills are run by specific families. China is home to over 60,000 such recycling businesses with over 20,000 of these in the Beijing alone. But this is only one side of the picture, as it is impossible for these mills to recycle 30 percent of the world’s plastic waste that is created by China itself.

Environmental Effects

Many people ride on tricycles around the city to collect the garbage and they earn their living from this work. The environmental impacts of this unregulated recycling business of China are massive. Because this method is not eco-friendly at all and causes toxic substances to be released in the environment. Moreover, the leftover of this process (which is considered unfit for recycling) is dumped directly into the water resources, making the water unfit for drinking and other domestic purposes. Thin shopping bags and certain type of foams used to wrap and carry the food items and other stuff cannot be recycled properly, so they are thrown away without recycling and hence make a major part in this dumped plastic. China did well to ban all such plastic products back in 2008. But because of the lack of enforcement, this ban was finally lifted in 2013, sparking a lot of criticism regarding the issue.

Conclusion

The unregulated plastic dumping and recycling business of Beijing has a huge impact on the environmental conditions of China. This business should be controlled and regulated by the local governments of the various cities of China. This can help a lot in reducing the air and water pollution which, at present, is one of the major problems of the 21st century.

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