Volunteers get the garbage sorted

Volunteers help with Yexie Town's progress in garbage sorting. 

The withdrawal of trash cans and a fixed time and place for garbage disposal has been achieved at 10 villages in Yexie Town of Songjiang District. One more village is expected to have completed the task by July this year. The town’s progress in garbage sorting has been attributed to the efforts of 385 volunteers.

Xu Muhu, a 75-year-old Damiao Village resident, registered to become a volunteer when garbage sorting was promoted at the village in August last year. Xu was trained in sorting methods and became a “vogue leader” promoting garbage sorting in the village.

“To people who are unwilling to cooperate, I would demonstrate how to sort and arguing with them was definitely not a measure to take. People, most often acquaintances of mine, would surrender after seeing my enthusiasm,” said Xu. “It takes time for people to take in the new garbage sorting concept. And I, who learned how to do it first, am obliged to teach others.”

Jiang Jinchang, 78, a volunteer at Dongshi Village, works with his wife to promote garbage sorting. Of the 16 households Jiang is targeting, two have tenants from outside Shanghai who are often away from home. Jiang managed to get in touch with them by taking turns with his wife to wait at their doors until they returned.

To promote garbage sorting at the Xinyuan Residential Area, a relocation community where two-thirds of the 1,344 households are tenants, volunteer Cai Jurong would prepare a working manual to record details of garbage sorting at each household.

“Some households don’t have proper disposal bags, some fail in garbage sorting because elderly family members are slow to form the habit, some neglect garbage sorting because family members are too busy. But the situation is changing as more people are turning to me to make sure they are doing the right garbage sorting. Now 60 percent of the households are aware of garbage sorting,” said Cai.

Chen Shuiying, a square dance enthusiast at the Zhangze Community, promotes garbage sorting among her dancing partners during breaks.

Though Chen would sometimes be accused as making trouble, she believed some people’s reluctance is only temporary.

“There are no trash cans at our community and fewer annoying flies. Everybody is feeling happy about this,” said Chen.

To monitor garbage sorting, the Yexie township government employs four senior Party members to form a supervising group. The group monitors the situation throughout the town every two weeks to make sure garbage sorting is being carried out properly.

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