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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Zhujiajiao, Shanghai City, China

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Zhujiajiao, Shanghai City, China
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Registered: February 2007
Posts: 1
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On my recent expedition in China, I really saw and experienced China as it is: a country rich with culture, history, and natural sites, but also a country where certain places have been defiled by litter to the extent that one might say an area looks like a wasteland. Focusing my cleanup in an area called Zhujiajiao, I encountered a lifestyle which was quite obsolete; this was neat because I could see the simplistic side of peoples’ living, but it was also shattering to me because this obsolete lifestyle has not introduced many ideas to the inhabitants, such as the dangers of littering. Although I conducted the cleanup by myself which made it difficult (but never impossible) to photograph my cleaning in action, I was in no way inhibited. After all, I still managed to fill three huge bags of garbage and I set up trashcans along the streets of the village.

In the beginning of the cleanup, it was heartbreaking for me to see so many stray dogs wandering through the village. But, I knew that before these dogs could find a home, I had to start by cleaning up the streets and the river surrounding the village. Once I got into action, I noticed that trees and plants appeared haphazardly throughout the village, and that they were mostly in poor condition due to pollution. And so in virtually every area I walked there was always something to be picked up and then either recycled or thrown away. For instance, outside of a little shack there was a sewer hole that was just surrounded with weeks-old food and trash. Some of the inhabitants I spoke to told me they were use to all the waste in their village, but I continued with my cleanup because I knew that it was really an obligation to clean the area up even if some people did not mind.

After seeing all the waste in the river, I went on one of the village boats and used my own stockings as a dragnet to “fish” the trash out of the water. This method was pretty successful, and I considered it an auspicious day for both the river and me because luckily I brought extra socks! A little resourcefulness really can save the day.

At the end of the cleanup, I had picked up everything from lychee peels to dirty napkins to canine excrement. It was wonderful for me to just look at an area after I had cleaned it and had put my work into it; I was able to see the village for what it should be. I think it is absolutely imperative to take care of Zhujiajiao because it will eventually change the negative and indifferent mentalities of the inhabitants. This change will go on to affect many other people in other areas. I spoke to some store owners in the village who were located near areas where I put trash cans and they all agreed to make an effort to throw away waste and take responsibility for the trashcan in their area. This is proof that one person’s work really can make an enormous difference. If the children in the village were more educated on pollution and so forth, I believe they would be more conscious of not littering and thus continue my cause. Also, if all of the small home-run restaurants (those I did not get a chance to speak with) would encourage customers to pick up their garbage or perhaps throw it away themselves, the litter problem would improve enormously. I do, though, believe that my cleanup in a day’s work will go on in perpetuity to help reduce the litter problem of Zhujiajiao.

I am thankful for the Apprentice Ecologist Initiative which has helped guide me through my cleanup. Albeit Zhujiajiao is just one area of a huge country, I believe my work has made quite a positive difference upon the environment.
Date: February 9, 2007 Views: 15964 File size: 23.9kb, 173.9kb : 1500 x 1125
Hours Volunteered: 10
Volunteers: 1
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 16
Area Restored for Native Wildlife (hectares): 2
Trash Removed/Recycled from Environment (kg): 25
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Registered: April 2013
Posts: 1
April 23, 2013 7:19am

I am interested in this project and your continued activities in China. Please provide additional information, if possible.