Generation Gap: On Trash Sorting Regulations

By Yuka Hayashi, August 7, 2019

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'Generation Gap' is a monthly series where we talk to two Beijingers from two different generations about a random topic. This time we ask Kang, 47 and Ren, 20 their opinions on the new garbage regulations being implemented in cities across China.


New garbage rules have recently been introduced in Shanghai and Shenzhen, which require residents to separate their trash into four different categories. What do you think about the possible implementation of the garbage-sorting initiative across China? 

Kang, 47

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“I think it’s not a bad idea to implement it here in Beijing. In fact, it might even be better for the city itself and the citizens here, because it may potentially make the city cleaner and also enhance people’s will to keep the city sanitary. I mean, it’s going to be a little mafan [trouble] for the people, but it will surely make the lives of workers at the garbage disposal sites much easier. I do agree, however, that it’s going to cause much confusion, because we only have so much knowledge regarding how to sort garbage. I work closely with those who are quite familiar with this field, but I still get confused when classifying garbage into different categories. So, I don’t know if implementing it in public venues would be the best decision. As for now, I think implementing this on domestic garbage is enough.”  


Ren, 20

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“Since all of us produce garbage on a daily basis, I strongly believe that we have the obligation to minimize the damage it poses on the environment. And if sorting out garbage can help, I’m down to do that! I think it’s a great yet a very simple and accessible opportunity for all of us – regardless of age – to contribute to our society and to protect the environment. Implementing such a policy did will put Beijing in the forefront of environmental protection in China, and I think we need not be afraid of other cities not being able to catch up! I do agree though, that it may be quite perplexing at first. Nonetheless, I believe that once it becomes a habit, it wouldn’t bother us anymore. We are all aware of how our environmental condition is deteriorating, so we should not hesitate to take even the smallest actions. In fact, I think that trivial actions eventually bring huge change. Besides, such effort can cultivate more attention to public morals and collective responsibility.”

[Images via Yuka Hayashi]

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