'Green tourists' tour Beijing's recycling plants

Source:Global Times Published: 2010-6-12 10:02:46

By Li Shuang

Beijing's resources are running out, the city's waist deep in garbage, and the government knows it. Over the past three days, 240 ordinary citizens were invited to tour four recycling plants in the city. Given a rare chance to see the city's endeavor to recycle, the "green tourists" are hoped to spread the urgency to recycle and to pursue low-carbon lifestyles after the tour concludes.

The "green tour" was organized by the Beijing Municipal Commission of Development and Reform as part of their "save energy and reduce waste" exhibition week (June 12 to 18). Within a half-day of the sign-up list opening, 240 slots for the tour were filled.

"I called as soon as I saw the news in the paper, but still I was one of the last people admitted," said Wu Kangnian, an engineer with Beijing Sanyuan Food Corporation, Beijing's biggest dairy product supplier. The new production line he is working on will produce 1,000 cubic meters of methane. "In the old days we would simply burn it. Now we want to make full use of it," said Wu.

He saw what he wanted at the first stop of the tour, Liuminying village in Daxing district. The village has a population of 861 and runs entirely on methane generated by chicken manure and dairy farming.

Other "green tourists" also expressed concern toward Beijing's garbage problem. They visited the Xiaowuji garbage sorting lines in Daxing district, the Gaoantun garbage incinerator and a plant food factory. The incinerator burns 1,600 tons of garbage daily and converts it into 0.22 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity per year. The factory is designed to turn 1,200 tons of organic garbage daily into plant food and will be put into use at the end of the month.

However, Beijing still produces 18,400 tons of household garbage daily. Even with all the recycling plants running, most of the garbage still has to go to landfills.

"We are hoping for Beijing citizens to learn to sort their garbage soon, so we can recycle cheaper and more efficiently," said Li Yilin, a researcher with the commission.

Currently, 600 neighborhood compounds in Beijing are experimenting with household garbage sorting.

Posted in: Society, Metro Beijing

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