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Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Lack of Greenery (2)

If you missed it, Click here to read Part 1 of this series.

Because Chinese city-dwellers grow up and live their lives in these surroundings, they hold very different ideas about the environment. For example, because all cities have street sweepers who clean up the city litter, when people buy something in a shop, they unwrap it on their way out and toss the wrapping on the street without hesitation. When they are done smoking a cigarette or eating a banana, they toss the leftovers aside, no hesitation. Because someone will clean it up for them, they simply do not care. Let me be clear - this isn't everybody. But it's a sizable amount of people. 

The same, unfortunately, can be true in parks, tourist sites, and what would otherwise be very nice, clean, green environments. Generally speaking, parks and tourist sites are kept pretty clean, but litter can sometimes be seen. 

When you travel to lakes or see rivers or just look out the window of your train compartment, you will see many places on the edge of town where, just behind people’s houses, they will throw their trash on the ground. 
Outside of Shanghai
Outside of Guiyin

This trash builds and builds and isn’t destined for anywhere. It is their personal garbage dump. Also, on long train trips, people will eat a lot of instant noodles, and upon finishing them, will open the train window and throw out what they didn’t eat. However, a lot of China's poor people take advantage of their recycling policy and pick up the plastics to get some money back.

This is one of the most sad parts about being in China. From my experience, the average Chinese city-dweller has little awareness of being green and environmentally friendly because of the environment they grow up in. Many children in the cities would rather just sit and watch TV than go outside to see the green of a park or visit scenic places. When they get to these places, they say “Oh, that’s cool. Can we leave?” The lack of appreciation of natural beauty is a reality among more than a few Chinese young city people. The older generation, being more traditional and more likely to come from a rural village or suburb, know how to appreciate nature’s beauty and appreciate when people do not waste food, waste water, and litter the streets. 

The people who live in the rural areas also have a better appreciation of the environment, not because of environmental education classes, but because it is where they live. They treasure the environment they live in. 

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