Tuesday, March 25, 2008

City Scavengers

On the streets, particularly during the evening rush hour, there are hundreds, thousands of men and women pedalling wagons piled high with neatly stacked cardboard, canvas bags filled with plastic bottles, discarded electrical equipment, and even building materials.

They are Beijing's recyclers.

A few of them set up shop in front of my apartment complex and stand or sit all day waiting for people to come by and give them things, or they wait for the garbage collection to go through it for anything they think they can get money for.

My apartment building, and I'm sure many others don't have separate bins for separating garbage, so I do it myself, putting them into plastic bags and hope someone picks them up and puts them to good use. There is no education for residents to separate their garbage and so it's left to these scavengers to pick through garbage or even possibly injure themselves just to earn a few extra yuan.

They then collect their goods, from used magazines, bottles and even sheets of glass and peddle them to the west side of the city where there is a recycling centre.

It's hard to imagine these people are able to survive on these meagre earnings that they have to work so hard for. But at the same time I have to salute these people who are helping the city decrease the amount of garbage it accumulates daily. They are the ones who are really making Beijing green.

1 comment:

Airchild said...

Yes, kudos to the recyclers of the city! You can still see old ladies and men scavenging for recyclable material here in HK... some of them even resort to adding water to the cardboard boxes to make them weigh a little bit more. Sigh...! Thanks to them, more waste gets recycled.