International students join garbage sorting campaign

Yang Meiping
As Shanghai gears up for the launch of new rubbish regulations, foreign students at ECNU are also taking part in new trash separation efforts.
Yang Meiping

A campaign was launched on Wednesday at East China Normal University (ECNU) to encourage international students to take part in garbage sorting efforts as Shanghai prepares for implementation of its first trash sorting regulations in July.

At a dormitory for international students at the university, about 60 students from 20 some countries wrote their wishes for a green future and the Earth on leaf-shaped papers and then posted them on display.

They also watched videos and participated in a garbage sorting regulation quiz to win small prizes like succulent plants.

“Many international students told me that they felt life was quite convenient in Shanghai as they can place orders with smart phones to get everything,” Huang Meixu, director of the university's global education center, said at the launching ceremony.

“But have you ever thought about how to deal with the packages and the takeaway boxes?” She told the gathered students. “I hope from today, you will cooperate with the cleaners to sort out the garbage; a small step to offer your contribution to making the campus cleaner and the Earth more beautiful. You may feel it’s inconvenient at the beginning, but I hope you can take the first step.”

According to the guidelines for the Green Campus, Beautiful ECNU campaign, students should only put dry waste in the trash cans in their rooms. Wet waste should be disposed in trash cans in the hallways. Hazardous waste and recyclables can be dropped at the front desk of the dormitory. 

Some international students also shared their thoughts on the importance of garbage sorting.

William Detwiler, an exchange student from Georgetown University in the US, said environmental problems are an issue faced by the government and the public alike. He encouraged all  international students to join in the city government’s garbage sorting efforts and reduce use of plastic products.

Takashi Shibuya, a second-semester Chinese-language student from Japan, said plastics are a great invention but their durability is a double-edged sword as plastics are a main source of environment pollution now.

“But I think it’s our way of using plastics that has caused the problem, not plastic itself,” he said. “We human beings are still learning how to use this invention correctly.”

Quelen Cassini Guedes, a first-year doctorate student of International Relations from Brazil, also called on everyone to sort their rubbish.

“It’s a global issue and it will never be changed if we do not take a single action,” she said.

She said in Brazil, people separate waste into dry and wet categories. She felt guilty when she first came to Shanghai and did not sort her trash due to lack of regulation and facilities.

“I’m glad that now we have such a regulation and I hope everyone can do it,” she said.

Nuriia Sulaiman Kyzy, a Kyrgyzstani student majoring in teaching Chinese as a second language, said there is no garbage sorting regulation in her country, yet she hopes similar rules will be introduced there soon.

“I know we will feel a little bit inconvenienced to sort out garbage everyday, but it’s worth it,” she said. “It’s for ourselves, and also for our families and future generations.” 

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