China's fast-growing cities will no longer be able to cope with the amount of rubbish they produce by 2020, according to a government study.
By that time the garbage produced annually by urban households and businesses in the world's most populous nation will reach 400 million tonnes, equivalent to the figure for the entire world in 1997.
The China Daily cited research by the China Council for International Cooperation and Development, a government-run environmental watchdog, which warned that inadequate waste management could result in methane explosions, the release of toxic gases and the pollution of water supplies.
Rapid urbanization, inadequate waste treatment and relatively low levels of recycling are already putting a heavy strain on landfill sites. The state media estimates that the average city dweller produces 440kg of waste a year. Between 70 percent and 90 percent is burned or buried in giant landfills, which reportedly cover 50,000 hectares nationwide.
China also imports other countries' trash, especially electronic parts, scrap metal and plastic products. Much of that garbage is reused, but plenty ends up in landfills.
Municipal governments are securing new sites but they are filling up faster than expected. Engineers in Chongqing estimate that the city's giant Changshengqiao landfill, which stretches over 35 hectares, will be full within 15 years, two years ahead of schedule.
Wealthier cities such as Beijing and Shanghai are building treatment plants. Guangzhou is spending 5 billion yuan (NT$22.4 billion) to build seven plants by 2010, including one that is said to be the world's largest. But in other areas the only recycling is done by scavengers who sift through garbage dumps for bottles, cans and newspapers.(The Guardian)
1. cope v.i. /v.t.
應付 (ying4 fu4)
例: I'm trying to cope with all the homework the teacher gave us.
2. toxic adj.
有毒的 (you3 du2 de5)
例: If you accidentally drink toxic chemicals, call 119 right away.
3. urbanization n.
都市化 (du1 shi4 hua4)
例: As urbanization quickens, the city government has to deal with new problems.
4. landfill n.
垃圾掩埋場 (le4 se4 yan3 mai2 chang3)
例: Some companies build golf courses on top of full landfills.
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