Tag Archives: China

Treat your sanitation workers well

There are two contrasting stories this week on the treatment of sanitation workers: in China a local restaurant treats 180 of them to a free lunch, while in Gaza they go on strike after having received no pay for over six months.

More than 180 sanitation workers in Chengdu, Sichuan province enjoyed a free lunch courtesy of a local hotpot restaurant.

More than 180 sanitation workers in Chengdu, Sichuan province enjoyed a free lunch courtesy of a local hotpot restaurant. Photo: weibo.com

Sanitation workers in China get low pay, have poor working conditions and work long hours. Mr. Li, a restaurant owner in Chengdu, decided it was time to show some appreciation for their hard work, especially now as temperatures were dropping. He offered over 180 local sanitation workers a free lunch; they were “encouraged to order whatever they wanted, including alcohol”, writes Dina Li in the Shanghaiist.

The free lunch was also a compensation for the mess created when Mr Li opened his new restaurant and employees distributed more than 100,000 leaflets, most of which ended up on the streets for sanitation workers to clean up.

Waste piles up in Al-Shifa Hospital, Gaza Strip, as a result of strike by sanitation workers.

Waste piles up in Al-Shifa Hospital, Gaza Strip, as a result of strike by sanitation workers. Photo: Mohammad Asad, MEMO

How differently sanitation workers are treated in the Gaza Strip. Since the formation of the Palestinian unity government in June 2014, they have not received any pay. This has spurred a strike with severe consequences for the health care system. The accumulation of large piles of waste and garbage has forced the Al-Shifa Hospital to stop all work in their operation and emergency rooms.

Deputy Minister of Health, Yusuf Abu Al-Reesh warned of dangerous health conditions inside the hospitals and medical centres in Gaza since staff from the private sanitation companies went on strike.


  • Dina Li, Chengdu hotpot restaurant treats over 180 sanitation workers to free lunch, Shanghaiist, 5 Dec 2014
  • Gaza sanitation workers’ strike stalls hospital operations, Middle East Monitor, 4 Dec 2014

Educational cartoon boosts worm infection prevention

Cover of the Cartoon “The Magic Glasses.

Cover of the Cartoon “The Magic Glasses.

Educational cartoon boosts worm infection prevention | Source: News-Medical, Apr 29, 2013 |

Researchers in China have found that a health education package targeted at schoolchildren can improve hygiene behaviors and reduce the incidence of soil-transmitted helminth infection.

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, included 1718 school children aged 9 to 10 years, of whom 893 attended control schools (n=19), and 825 attended intervention schools (n=19). The research was conducted in rural Linxiang City District, Hunan province, where there is a high prevalence of helminth infection but limited awareness or educational activity about the risks.

Both control and intervention schools displayed an awareness poster. However, in the intervention schools, students also took part in an educational package, including a 12-minute cartoon promoting knowledge and prevention awareness, followed by classroom discussions. They also took part in drawing and writing competitions that reinforced the cartoon’s messages, and received a pamphlet summarizing the main points. All students received albendazole treatment at baseline.

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Smart, eco-friendly sanitation for all in China, lessons for India

Invest in sanitation and wastewater, make treated wastewater available for reuse in urban areas and reduce the GDP loss due to bad health and disease which bad sanitation brings. These are the lessons that India can learn from neighbouring China, says S. Vishwanath, a writer on sustainable water management and sanitation issues.

The four storied apartments in Dongsheng District of Erdos Municipality in Inner Mongolia, China look like any apartment, all 825 of them. They look the same that is until you use the toilet. Detailed instructions nailed to the door tell you how to use them. The urine diverting toilets flush with sawdust instead of water. Urine is collected in tanks tucked away in the basement of the building and used as a fertiliser in a surrounding agricultural field. The solids are composted and reused also as fertiliser. Grey-water coming from the washing machine and bath is treated at a small treatment plant in the development and reused for landscape use. The people who bought the flats did so knowing fully well the systems of sanitation in place and paid the same market rates as the flats which had conventional sanitation systems. This is China’s brave new world of waste and wastewater management.

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China – Street food blamed for cholera outbreak in Anhui

Some 30 people have been infected with cholera in Mengcheng county, East China’s Anhui province, since Aug 16, most after eating at local street food stalls, local health authorities said.

Over the weekend, 20 of the patients were still receiving treatment in hospital and the rest had been discharged after making a full recovery, according to the local government. No one has died from the disease so far.

“The outbreak, as medical experts said, was related to unclean food and drinks, but they are still looking for the exact source of the mass infection,” Shao Junqiang, of the county’s information department, said on Sunday afternoon.

Almost all of the patients had eaten cold dishes at food stands before exhibiting symptoms of the infection, such as diarrhea and vomiting, he said.

Cholera is a severe bacterial infection, which can lead to death if it is not treated in a timely manner. In China, it is categorized as a type A infection together with the plague.

Last year, China reported 85 cases of cholera on the mainland, a decrease of almost 50 percent on 2008.

The provincial government arranged for medical experts to be sent to the county to assist treating patients, as well as to keep the outbreak from spreading further.

A member of staff at the Mengcheng No 1 Hospital said that 70 to 80 percent of the patients they handled showed symptoms of intestinal infections and would be quarantined. The hospital is designated to treat intestinal disorders between May and October, the peak season for intestinal outbreaks, he said.

All schools and kindergartens were ordered not to start school until Sept 1 to allow the water supply and student canteens to be sanitized beforehand.

The availability of cold dishes on street food stalls has been banned in the county and many stands have closed due to the outbreak.


China, Wuhan: ADB supports wastewater and lake management project

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is supporting an urban environmental initiative in Wuhan municipality in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) that it says could be a model for sustainable management of wastewater sludge in the country.

The ADB has approved a $100 million loan for the Wuhan Urban Environmental Improvement Project that will involve the treatment and disposal of sewage sludge, and the rehabilitation of polluted lakes and water channels, benefiting up to 3 million urban residents in the municipality.

Wuhan, the capital of Hubei Province with a population of nearly 9 million people, is successfully treating most of its wastewater through the support of previous ADB assistance. However, the huge amount of sewage sludge generated by the treatment plants – estimated at 657 tons a day – poses growing environmental and health hazards.

The project will incorporate a number of innovative and integrated measures designed to improve the environment and support the government for a more sustainable urban development master plan.

The project will introduce a decentralized approach by building small on-site sludge units integrated with the city master plan. Sludge from Wuhan’s wastewater plants will be dried and treated using biogas from an ADB-financed wastewater facility and steam from a thermal power plant. In addition, the dried sludge will be used as a soil conditioner and filler for building construction materials, supporting the PRC’s push to create sustainable local economies that reduce, reuse and recycle waste. The project will advocate for beneficiary sludge treatment and utilization.


The project will also help restore Wuhan’s polluted lakes and water channels. Sediment dredging and slope protection work will be carried out, while flood control gates and a water pumping station will also be built. A storm water treatment system will be established for Yangchun Lake, artificial wetlands will be created, and lakes will be planted with aquatic plants.


Wuhan’s lakes and rivers, which make up 25% of its urban area, have become seriously polluted by agricultural activity and urban construction, with just 38 of 100 lakes in the mid-20th century still in existence.

An environmental public awareness campaign targeted at lakeside businesses, communities and schoolchildren will be carried out, while training and other support will be given for wastewater and sludge treatment operation and maintenance.

ADB’s assistance makes up nearly 20% of the total project cost of about $501.8 million. The Wuhan Municipal Government is providing counterpart funds equivalent to $125.4 million, while the Agricultural Bank of China is supplying a 10-year loan of $276.3 million. The municipal government is the executing agency for the project which is expected to be completed by December 2014.

Source: ADB, 01 Jul 2010

China, Ningbo: World Bank loan addresses rural waste water management

The World Bank has approved a loan of $50 million to China to improve rural wastewater management and township infrastructure in Ningbo Municipality.

Ningbo Municipality is a major city in the southeastern coastal zone of China, about 300 km south of Shanghai, and has a population of 5.65 million. Despite rapid economic growth since the late 1970s, Ningbo is facing increasing urban-rural disparities including per capita income of rural residents much below than that of urban residents, fewer economic opportunities, inadequate basic infrastructure, shortage and low quality of drinking water supply, and insufficient sanitation services in the rural areas. The Ningbo Municipal Government is working to implement the New Countryside Development (NCD) Program, a national strategy aimed at reducing the urban-rural disparity, balancing urban and rural development, and promoting human-centered, quality-based, resource-saving and eco-friendly growth in the countryside.

In support of the municipality’s efforts, the Ningbo New Countryside Development Project will focus on improving rural waste water management in about 150 selected villages in Ningbo Municipality and enhancing infrastructure development in Chunhu Town of Fenghua City by financing construction of an access road, water supply networks, and wastewater collection and treatment facilities. In the meantime, the Bank will provide technical assistance to build local capacities.

The total project cost is $107 million with the World Bank contributing about 47 percent.

The World Bank has a close working relationship with Ningbo Municipality. In recent years the Bank financed a number of projects in Ningbo, including the Ningbo Water and Environment Project, Zhejiang Urban Environment Project, and the Global Environment Facility-supported Ningbo Water and Environment Project.

For more information go to the Ningbo New Countryside Development Project page

Source: World Bank, 25 Feb 2010

Long march ahead for China’s toilet revolution

BEIJING : When China opened its doors to the world decades ago, there was one area that was crucial to modernising its image – its public toilets.

Toilets in China used to be so notorious that potential investors were rumoured to have fled the country in horror.

At one point, one-third of all tourist complaints were about smelly toilets, according to the Beijing Tourism Administration.

In the 1990s, Beijing poured in millions of dollars to upgrade its public toilets in a bid to win the right to host the Olympic Games and improve its international image.

And Beijing is aiming to ensure that no toilet jam will tarnish one of its biggest shows ever – the 60th National Day celebrations.

Half a million people are expected to gather at Tiananmen Square for the October 1 celebrations.

So how do you cater to the needs of 500,000 people to answer the call of nature at any one time? Beijing may just have found a solution.

More than 100 blocks of these temporary toilets were built around Tiananmen Square and Chang’an Ave, providing 3,000 toilet seats for all personnel and participants on the big day.

The toilets are designed to look pleasant and work efficiently.

The urinal space can take up to 60 men a minute, and the walls can be removed to let more people in if it gets too crowded.

“To improve ventilation, these toilets are built with big entrances and exits, ventilation fans, shutters and gaps between shelters and walls. Automatic air fresheners are also used,” said Hou Yajun, design manager of Tsinghua Unisplendour Taihetong Envirotech.

The high-tech toilets show how far China has come in flushing away its poor toilet habits, but the quest to meet its people’s most basic need is far from over.

More than half of China’s cities are facing water shortages, which creates a demand for eco-friendly and water-free toilets.

“A lot of investment and resources need to be put in to change people’s toilet habits. Water-free toilets have yet found their way into homes. Even in the public toilet sector, there’s still a lot of room to grow,” said Yang Yixin, GM of Tsinghua Unisplendour Taihetong Envirotech.

Source – http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/eastasia/view/1008383/1/.html

China, Fujian province: protesters kick up stink at Chinese sewage works

Protests drawing up to 10,000 people flared in eastern China over a powerful stench from a sewage treatment plant with 10 people hurt in clashes, residents and a human rights monitor said [on 1 September 2009].

The demonstration occurred Monday [31 August 2009] when angry villagers from Fujian province’s Fengwei town [Quanzhou city] confronted 2,000 riot police over a wastewater treatment plant that had fouled local air and water, Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy said.

At least 10 people were injured […] the center said, [adding that] two police cars were smashed and protesters took several government officials and factory workers hostage.

A statement by the local Communist Party’s propaganda department acknowledged the protests, saying when workers prepared to enter the factory they were obstructed by villagers.

[A] report by the state-run Straits Metropolitan News […] also described the hostage-taking and clashes, but said only about 200 protesters were involved. “A small number of people took advantage of the situation to cause trouble, damaging and smashing equipment,” it said, citing information from the city government.

The wastewater treatment plant had a problem that sent a major stench through the area on Aug. 19 [2009], the statement said. Villagers protested over several days, but the biggest demonstration came [on 31 Aug. 2009]. One resident […] said the stench was unbearable. “People would puke or faint when they smell it.”

Mass protests over pollution and other environmental problems occur regularly throughout China.

Source: AP / Google News, 01 Sep 2009 ; AFP / Google News, 01 Sep 2009

China: Toilet relief for Shanghai’s World Expo

Shanghai has sought to reassure visitors to next year’s World Expo that they can expect relief from the city’s sometimes foul public toilets. The city will clean up and renovate more than 5,200 public toilets to meet an expected 70 million Expo visitors’ “urgent needs,” according to Ma Yun’an, head of the city’s urban management bureau. [He added that] more than 500 new free toilets will also be installed before the five-month event starts on May 1, 2010

“To offer free public toilets is only part of the whole work. It is also important to improve the service,” Ma said. “Some of the toilets will offer medicine and sewing kits.” More than 300 of the new toilets will be built around the Expo site and they will be supplemented by “mobile public toilets,” he said.

[…] Authorities in Beijing carried out a similar toilet campaign ahead of last year’s Beijing Olympics. The stated goal of the Olympic effort was to make every public toilet a “pleasant experience.”

Source: AFP / Google, 24 Feb 2009 ; China People’s Daily Online, 24 Feb 2009

China, Beijing: all sewage to be reused within three years

The Beijing Sewage Association [said] that within three years, all water processed in the city’s sewage treatment plants will meet requirements for reuse. The annual capacity of Beijing’s nine sewage treatment plants totals 900 million tons, but only 100 million tons of treated water is qualified for reuse. […] The total quantity of treated water in Beijing is currently 600 million tons, 50% of which can be reused.[An] official said that although the sewage treatment rate has reached 93% in urban areas, it is very difficult to meet a 7% sewage treatment rate in the intersecting areas between urban and rural regions.

See also:  John Leslie MacLean, Beijing Beefs Up Sewage Treatment, ADB, May 2008 and Beijing Municipal Water Bureau

Source: People’s Daily Online, 15 Dec 2008