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China is no longer world's dumping ground...

Date March 28, 2018 Author Lucy Robinson Categories News

The farms outside Shanghai are a healthy green. Traditional crops like broccoli and cabbage are growing quickly in the spring sun.

But in the nearby village of Lu Qiao, they're harvesting something new and not nearly as natural: plastic.

Great sheets of it once used for wrapping commercial products arrive on the back of an overflowing truck. Huge compressed blocks of old shopping bags fill every corner of the local recycling centre. Workers sort it all so it can be turned into something else.

This is one of a growing number of such plants, sprinkled throughout rural China. It's part of a nascent government plan designed to clean up the world's biggest accumulation of waste, one that's been building across the country for decades.

The fields here may seem fresh and pure, but it's not hard to find valleys, creeks and ponds full of trash.

To clean it up, China has two big challenges. The first is local: convincing people to abandon old habits.

"People are used to just throwing things away," says Huang Yingying, the recycling plant manager. "We're telling them to recycle, to stop with the trash.

"We find we have to offer money to people as a reward to bring us material. In China, we haven't reached the stage where people will do that just to help the environment."

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