The Burning Issue of Waste in China

24th August 2015

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The fact that landfill sites are filling up the world over is not a surprising one. The facts that in many countries recycling rates are very low and that even here in the UK we’re struggling to keep up with a 50% recycling target by 2020 as set by the last government may be less well known but are still small parts of a bigger problem when it comes to waste. We could all be recycling and reusing far more than we currently are, but until more people and companies subscribe to that fact and make positive changes, what are we to do with the growing waste piles that waste management companies such as 707 Resource Management collect every single day?

Incineration has been used for many years now as a way of getting rid of rubbish, but in days gone by the contents were simply burned straight into the environment, releasing dangerous toxins into the air and creating potential health risks for nearby residents and animals. These days, however, there are strict regulations in the UK and many other countries which control the way in which waste materials are handled and what incinerators are allowed to release. This means that landfill sites are not taking on even more waste and even better is the fact that many incinerators are waste to energy facilities, which means that energy is created from the burning of the waste products.

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As with any potentially controversial subjects, there are many who don’t like the method of burning waste. Some people are concerned about whether dangerous chemicals will still be released into the environment and many environmentalists fear that if burning is an easy option, then people will stop putting the effort into recycling, which is still a far more preferred option in the hierarchy of waste. In China this year, protests became violent at the site of a proposed incinerator, with police cars rather ironically being burned and general aggression towards law enforcers. The build did still begin a few days later and with unregulated heaps of rubbish on China’s streets contaminating the ground and water as well as releasing methane into the air, until recycling rates can be boosted incineration is their best option, in China and around the world.

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