Cleaning up Shanghai's coast

Chen Huizhi
A half-day cleanup action of the coast of Shanghai Binjiang Forest Park has yielded about 1 ton of garbage.
Chen Huizhi

About 500 people cleaned up the coast of Shanghai Binjiang Forest Park on Saturday, World Cleanup Day and the International Coastal Cleanup Day.

Located where the Huangpu River meets the Yangtze River and the East China Sea, the park has about 2 kilometers of coastline. 

According to Shanghai United Foundation, the organizer of the event, a total of 908.5 kilograms of dry garbage, 80.64 kilograms of recyclable waste and 653 pieces of hazardous waste were removed on Saturday.

Jin Yuqi, vice director of the park, said dozens of squads of volunteers, mainly organized by local companies, had come to help with the cleanup this year, ranging in size from a few dozen people to several hundred.

“It's mostly polystyrene, plastics, small electronic devices and waste from passing boats,” he said.

The park management has divided the coast into 50 sections and provides cleanup teams with tools and detailed instructions of where and how to work.

While plastic bottles and bags were most commonly encountered, volunteers also discovered two plastic heads and a large inflatable Minion doll.

Lu Ding, a nuclear power engineer who came with his wife and son, said: “The park looks very clean on the surface, but I saw many plastic bottles stuck in the breakwater, and a lot of plastics almost destroyed by the water, making it very hard to clean it up."

“I think this event is very useful because it makes me rethink about the delivery boxes we receive every day and how they can have a big influence on our environment,” he added.

Wang Ziren, founder of Pickup China, was general coordinator of World Cleanup Day on the Chinese mainland.

“We estimate that about 200,000 volunteers from 2,000 groups will take part in cleanups around the country today,” she said.

Pickup China organizes cleanup actions in the mountains, but Wang said a lot of garbage can be found in urban greenery and is often dismissed by street cleaners.

“We are working on an app for residents to mark the locations of any garbage they find and help them clean it up,” she said.

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