Relief from the heat for sanitation workers

Shanghai has added an extra 800-plus “love relay stations” that provide shade for sanitation workers from the scorching weather.

Shanghai has added a further 800-plus rest stations that ensure sanitation workers access to water, a hot meal and a break from the heat.

In total, 882 chain supermarkets in the city, including Century Mart, Hualian and GMS, will provide break places for sanitation workers in the wake of the Shanghai Greenery and Public Sanitation Bureau signing an agreement with Bailian Group.

The rest places, known as “love relay stations,” are identifiable by their red logo.

There are 4,300 “love relay stations” citywide, including at 443 bus stations, 250 gas stations, 169 KFC outlets, 80 branches of Industrial Bank, 400 outlets of China Telecom, 1,512 branches of property agencies, and 388 branches of Shanghai Rural Commercial Bank, according to the bureau.

The rest stations have air-conditioning and provide free drinking water. Most are equipped with a refrigerator and a microwave.

Throughout the summer, Niu Sumei has visited a gas station run by Sinopec Group on Wanping Road in Xuhui District every working day. There she has a drink of water, heats up a lunch and takes a rest. "It is like a warm home," said Niu.

The stations also provide a shelter for workers from the cold in winter.

Sanitation workers would like to see a more even distribution of the stations. In Xuhui District, for example, there are 19 stations in the bustling Xujiahui area, but only seven in Hongmei area which is much bigger than Xujiahui.

"There are many factories in Hongmei, and it is better if more of them can provide a temporary rest place," said Zhang Bin, a sanitation worker.

"Some security guards of industrial parks and office buildings allow us in if they recognize us, but the guards are changed frequently," Zhang said.

Li Jing, another worker, said some people are not happy to see sanitation workers because they are often dirty and sweaty. "If there is a separate place at these stations with a self-help service for us, we will feel more at ease," she said.

She wants to see more stations at roadside shops, community service centers and parks.

In 2013, the bureau initiated a campaign calling on companies and public facilities to provide space for taking a break and supplying free water for sanitation workers.



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