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Single and Grateful
By Eve Waites

She had peed on her feet, something the taxi driver had no way of knowing. Indeed he had no way of knowing that she had peed on her feet for the first time ever in her life, and had done so while wearing sandals and shorts, in a public convenience with poor ventilation, trillions of fat flies, and all the unpleasantries found in and around popular municipal lavatories at the zenith of summer. The taxi driver also had no way of knowing that her freshly-urinated toes had spiced-up a day that began with insufficient deodorant and, since noon, had been oozing rapidly into an August afternoon of blotchy foundation, sub-sartorial swampiness, frizz, and a hair-trigger mood. Nor did he know that his gravel-in-the-mouth northern accent was grating on my singed nerves nearly as much as his barrage of probing questions about myself, my partner, and our relationship (rather untimely given the circumstances). He could not have known that I had no desire to discuss international relations from his very particular and troublingly nationalistic perspective. He could not have known any of this, and could not have known that I wanted to throttle him.

The fare rang-in at 19RMB, and I slipped him two tens through the gap in the plexiglass shield which - for the past three kilometers - would have impeded my efforts to choke him had I attempted to do so. How, then, to describe my feelings when he forced one of the tens back through the gap, thanking me with a broad smile for a stimulating conversation and congratulating me on my spoken-Chinese and pretty belle?

Embarassed. Humbled. That’s exactly how I felt as I mumbled a string of penitent and ashamed thank-yous and stuffed the tenner into my shirt pocket. The taxi driver could not have known how complex my feelings were at the moment, or that the issue of the pee-feet (for which somehow I was responsible) had not yet reached its climax. Eventually it did, nine months later. This 11 November I will be celebrating Single’s Festival (guanggun jie, 光棍节).

Over the course of my 13 years in China, this would be the first and only time that a cabbie had insisted I take considerably less than the fare on the meter. (Would this happen in any city? In any hemisphere?) It was also one of the few times that I felt genuinely grateful for any courtesy extended to me in this country. I’d said xiexie millions of times, of course, and meant it. But sincere semiautomated thanks-saying is to the expression of gratitude what a McDonald’s cheeseburger is to, well, a cheeseburger.

The Chinese word into which one typically translates grateful is ganxie (感谢), a compound of gan (feeling, as in ganjue, 感觉), and xie (to thank, as in xiexie, 谢谢) -- literally: the feeling-to-thank, or, feeling-of-thankfulness. This is a little different from gan’en, as in gan’en jie, the American holiday Thanksgiving. Gan’en has the same gan as ganxie, and the en (恩, which can be translated a number of ways) approximates favor or grace – the latter in the sense of There but for the grace of the gods go I. Why was I grateful to the taxi driver? Because there was no norm, rule, or convention that required the taxi driver to benefit me – or: to aim intentionally to benefit me. He was not repaying a debt, making good on a promise, or luring me into a transactional reciprocal relationship – odds were between slim and none that I’d ever be in his cab again. He had nothing to gain by being weirdly, spontaneously generous. And that’s what made my last few seconds in his stationary cab so moving.

One thread of enquiry into these sorts of circumstances focuses on the taxi driver’s actions, on his seemingly altruistic behavior. What has long attracted my attention, however, is the other side of the coin: the experience of being the beneficiary of seemingly genuine altruism, and the resulting experience of a feeling of gratitude.

Ganxie consists of two characters which I have known for as long as I have been wrestling with Putonghua and Chinese-languages, and when I arrived here ganxie was immediately added to my new and tiny quiver of poorly-pronounced Chinese words on the assumption that I’d be using it with regularity – feichang ganxie for this, hen ganxie for that. Feichang ganxie is in fact a phrase you’ll hear a lot at the beginning of speeches, public addresses, and in the prefaces to oratory honorifics. But off the dais and in the humdrum of every-day existence, you’re unlikely to hear it being used with the same frequency as the English word grateful. As my language-skills approached proto-conversational, its absence from discourse was conspicuous.

Which is odd. Chinese antiquity – like that of the Occident – consistently celebrated gratitude as a virtue. In The Book of Odes (诗经) we find this: 投之以桃,报之以李 . (Tóu zhī yǐ táo, bào zhī yǐ lǐ. “Don’t forget the good others have done you and seek to return the favor”.) The arrival into China of Buddhism and its subsequent flourishing only reinforced indigenous traditions (folk, Confucian, Daoist), which, in their characteristic ways and in varying degrees, were principally oriented around ren (仁), yi (义), and li (利) – humanity, righteousness, and (ritual) propriety. Whereas yi and li are sufficient for formalized-reciprocity and debt-fulfillment, it takes ren (and lots of it) to get anywhere near kenotic altruism (and debt forgiveness), which are much nearer to the spirit of gratitude. Apparently, it doesn’t take too many generations of strategic and mercenary guanxi-calculation to beat the gan out of ganxie, leaving behind only a hastily-reiterated xie. Ten thousand spoken xiexie’s weighs less than a single felt ganxie.

The Greeks and Romans of antiquity were fixated with the idea of gratitude (or rather: ingratitude), and the Roman Stoic philosopher Seneca (4bce-65ce) went so far as to say of ingratitude that there was no vice more odious. This was the title of a lecture I gave in 1999 at a very small philosophy colloquium at a university you’ve never heard of. It was based on my research interests at the time, and it focused mainly on a question raised by Seneca in On Benefits (63ce): Can children bestow upon their parents benefits greater than those bestowed upon the children by the parents, on the assumption that the parents “benefitted” the children best and most by creating them in the first place? It is in this context that Seneca gave Western letters one of the earliest explorations of gratitude and ingratitude. My bagatelle of a paper was an incomplete and imperfect attempt to resurrect discussion of a subject which (to my thinking) was receiving far too little attention.

I had no way of knowing at the time, but psychologist Michael McCullough (University of Miami) had been working on a similar topic, and in 2001 McCullough and Emmons (et al.) published “Is gratitude a moral effect?”. Had this paper only helped to legitimate scholarly interest in the phenomenon of gratitude, all would be well; but what it did was yank the subject matter away from belles lettres and philosophy and slam-dunk it into the overrated but fashionable mosh pit of the experimental behavior sciences. McCullough’s long-time collaborator Robert A Emmons (University of California/Davis) explains, in lovely prose, his take on “the new science of gratitude” in his 2008 book Thanks: How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier.

Gratitude is an important dimension to our life as we interact with one another in our everyday affairs. It is impossible to imagine a world don’t receive and give gratitude on a regular basis. Binding together people in relationships of reciprocity, gratitude is one of the building blocks of a civil and humane society. Georg Simmel, a prominent early-twentieth-century Swiss sociologist, referred to gratitude as “the moral memory of mankind”. He wrote that “if every grateful action… were suddenly eliminated, society (at least as we know it) would break apart”. We need gratitude in to function in relation to others.

McCullough and Emmons (editors of the 2004 The Psychology of Gratitude) continue to do research in this domain. Both have websites which cite their work and celebrate its importance in the domain they (individually and collectively) helped to create.

My notes from May, 2008: I am sitting in a well-known chain coffee shop which at the moment smells more like scalp and wet Labrador retriever than Arabica beans and cacao. I am awaiting the arrival of a friend, and have just held open the door for an incoming-patron who, due to what she was carrying, would not have been able to open it on her own. She does not say thank you (or xiexie), or acknowledge my efforts, or appear cognizant of my intention to help. This is the rule and not the exception in these latitudes, and although I’m used to it, it still annoys me. It’s not that it’s rude not to say “thank you” -- that’s a judgment based on cultural-norms for etiquette. It is the seeming failure to apprehend a conspicuous intention to benefit that has me wondering about her and her compatriots’ cognitive or visceral amenability to the feeling of gratitude. And I am wondering about the deeper implications of that.

Emmons’ book Thanks! was published in 2008. I didn’t know about it at the time. But by that year I had been thinking rigorously and conscientiously about the phenomenon (and the phenomenology) of gratitude for nearly a decade. As the scalpy smell of Starbucks churned the mocha-caramel latte in my stomach into something unpleasant and unmentionable, I was acutely aware of the fact that - eight years in-country - and I was still finding it very difficult to reconcile what I thought I know about ‘gratitude’ with what I thought I knew about ganxie and with what I thought I knew about human nature. When my (local, bilingual, and wealthy) friend arrived, I asked her what seemed to me to be a simple question: How often do you think about the things for which you are grateful? How often do you feel consciously gratitude? She paused for a moment, masticating the query with what appeared to be embarrassment. Almost never, she said, almost penitently. By appearing as if she is confessing a moral shortcoming, she redeems herself. She also helps confirm a working-hypothesis. She does not know about any of this.

Since 2004 I have been living in what Oriental Outlook magazine rated “The Happiest City in China”. (In 2009 the same publication ranked Chengdu as “The [Second] Happiest City in China”.) I learned only last year that McCullough and Emmons keep the bread of their research buttered with “happiness-studies”, and it occurred to me precisely ten minutes ago those who cut grant-checks seem to like happiness-research nearly as much as they do research related to childhood allergies, addiction, and Asperger’s. “Gratitude”, Emmons opines,

is the “forgotten factor” in happiness research. We are engaged in a long-term research project designed to create and disseminate a large body of novel scientific data on the nature of gratitude, its causes, and its potential consequences for human health and well-being. Scientists are latecomers to the concept of gratitude. Religions and philosophies have long embraced gratitude as an indispensable manifestation of virtue, and an integral component of health, wholeness, and well-being. Through conducting highly focused, cutting-edge studies on the nature of gratitude, its causes, and its consequences, we hope to shed important scientific light on this important concept.

This might one of China’s most consistently happy cities – one with an increasingly affluent population, no less – but I don’t hear too many people talking about gratitude or the things for which they are grateful. Superficially at least, this seems a little at odds with core of the McCullough-Emmons hypothesis. I also would have thought that being affluent in a country which, a half a century ago, didn’t have enough kilocalories to go around (never mind Starbucks and Lamborghini dealerships) would be reason plenty to feel grateful, to be brimming over with ganxie-ness. But perhaps none of China’s happy cities are really happy. I’m sure there’s grant money somewhere for asking and attempting to answer that question. But then again, social and behavioural scientists are generally better at applying regression-analysis to data from questionnaires than they are at thinking up the right questions to ask in the first place.

I for one am grateful for many things, and the number of things for which I am grateful increases as I get older. I write, now, from a comfortable chair, snugly warm in a little café, sipping a nice California Merlot and nibbling on cheese cake that the immigrant teenage waitstaff here – in this twee boutique, in my happy city - cannot themselves afford. I walked here at a healthy clip and without the use of a crutch or cane. I have at no point in my life peed on my own feet, or anybody elses, at least unintentionally. I know that gratitude is not a feeling of indebtedness, but a feeling of wonder, and that feeling gratitude – as intensely as I do, as often as I do - does not seem to contribute much to my happiness. (To my eudaimonia? Maybe. To my happiness? No. On the contrary.)

And I know, too, that however we analyse, biologize, and demystify altruism it is still a wonderful thing, and that gratitude (whatever the psychologists say) is a feeling of smallness – the kind of smallness that makes one feel giddy, and summons to the frontal lobes appreciation of the fact that most of the best things in one’s life are, in one way or another, hostage to circumstances beyond one’s control. To be susceptible to the experience of authentic gratitude, one must appreciate acutely (and I think chronically, too) one’s fragility, and the ultimate contingency of one’s contentment – or better: one’s lack of discontent.

"Since you are mortal”, wrote Simonides (556-468bce), “never say what tomorrow will bring nor how long a man may be happy. For the darting of the dragonfly is not so swift as change of fortune." I suspect Simonides grasped and understood the essence of gratitude. I’m not sure if the maiden sitting nearish to me now in the café – the one with the iPhone, BV purse, and tuhao bling; the one posting on Weixin pics of her bare milky knees and creamy latte; the one who did not even ritually xiexie waitstaff for serving her the expensive beverage she photos rather than drinks – grasps the essence of ganxie.

But how would I know. She seems to have a nice grip on her latte and smartphone. And she seems happy enough. As well she should.

Still, I hope she accidentally pees on her Pradas.

Eve Waites is the author of a number of books which he has not yet written.

1 “Shiyi shiyi”, the eleventh day of the eleventh month. The series of ones (1 1 1 1) is, I’m told, suggestive of singleness.
2 Emmons (2008) Thanks: How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier, p.9
3 Highlights from the Research Project on Gratitude and Thankfulness Dimensions and Perspectives of Gratitude, vide: http://www.psy.miami.edu/faculty/mmccullough/Gratitude-Related%20Stuff/highlights_fall_2003.pdf
4 See Lung Hung Chen et al. (2008) “Validation of the Gratitude Questionnaire (GQ) In Taiwanese Undergraduate Students”, Journal of Happiness Studies, vide: http://www.psy.miami.edu/faculty/mmccullough/Gratitude-Related%20Stuff/Validation%20of%20the%20Gratitude%20Questionnaire%20(GQ)%20in%20Taiwanese%20Undergraduate%20Students.pdf. See also http://www.psy.miami.edu/faculty/mmccullough/Gratitude-Related%20Stuff/Chinese%20GQ-6_Joyce%20Leong.pdf, and generally http://www.psy.miami.edu/faculty/mmccullough/Gratitude_Page.htm.
5 See generally Martha Nussbaum (1986) The Fragility of Goodness.

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Do You Know How Much Urine is in the Swimming Pools?

The weather is getting hotter and hotter, what beats escaping the summer heat with a refreshing splash in the pool?

But have you ever thought of a question: How much urine is there in the pool?

Let’s talk about that today.

Blogger Mark Rober spoke with a couple of scientists to find out the average amount of pee in a swimming pool. The giveaway is the amount of artificial sweetener in pool water. And the unmistakable pool smell.

Mark sampled private pools and public pools four times and sent the samples directly to a laboratory for inspection

Mark visited Lindsay Blackstock, a PhD student of analytical and environmental toxicology at Alberta University to learn about her ingenious method for measuring the amount of pee in a pool by looking at the concentration of an artificial sweetener called Acefulfame Potassium, it’s commonly found in processed foods and fizzy drinks. This is commonly found in urine because it passes straight through the body undigested.

They looked at samples from some pools in his area to determine how much pee was in them and he conducted an experiment of his own to see what was the cause of that "classic pool smell". He also presented average amounts of pee in large pools as well as an equation to determine how much pee is in your own pool.

In fact, you can also get the results by measuring the amount of urea in the pool, but urea can also come from human sweat, and sweat is very common in pools, so you cannot tell how much urea actually came from pee.

Before the results of the experiment came out, Mark learned a big "secret"!

It took about an hour for the mass spectrometer to detect the results. When Mark waited, Lindsay also told him an amazing fact...

Adding chlorine into a pool can disinfect the water because it kills harmful bacteria, viruses and microorganisms...

However, there is also a big disadvantage! Chlorine for disinfection reacts with urea in the pool to form trichloroamine, that’s why you may smell it when you enter the indoor pool. It is actually the smell of trichloramine, which is the   of urine and chlorine, not just the smell of disinfectant water.

To prove this, Mark personally tested it. He prepared two 5 gallon buckets, and filled them with pure water, then added four times the recommended concentration of chlorine for that volume of water to both buckets, and then added a little urine to the bucket B.

After 3 days of waiting, it’s time for the truth.

Bucket A still smells like water even with four times the recommended chlorine concentration, while bucket B smells like a swimming pool. The only difference is that bucket B has a small amount of pee in it. The smell reminds us of summer vacations in a 5-star hotel’s pools or water parks. It turns out… it’s just pee.

The classic pool smell doesn’t sound like a big deal, but the problem is it’s kinda bad news for both your lungs and your eyes.

If your eyes are really red after swimming for a while, that’s because of the trichloroamine from the pee, not the chlorine. Trichloroamine also causes asthma, in fact, studies show that asthma is more likely to occur among lead swimmers than any other high-level athletes, which now make sense, because Michael Phelps admitted to always peeing in the pool and he says everyone does it too.

In Lindsay’s research, she sampled 20 public swimming pools and 10 public hot tubs. The average concentration of sweetener for the public pool was 470ng/L , and 2247ng/L for the public hot tubs.

So what about Mark’s samples? The concentration of artificial sweetener in his friend’s backyard pool is 69ng/L. Although it is much lower than the average, it equals just under a gallon of pee. Mark's hot tub has a slightly higher concentration of artificial sweetener at 103ng/L.

In another set of samples taken by Mark in a public pool and hot tub, the concentration of artificial sweetener is 27ng/L for the pool and 335ng/L for the hot tub, respectively.

Those numbers are much lower than the average levels of the 30 samples that Lindsay collected, which leads Mark to believe that the water has been completely replaced recently.

If you want to estimate the pee in your pool, Mark came up with a simple equation after talking to some professionals and the equation depends on the number of people.

Average:
numbers of swimmers × 1.2 = gallons of pee

If you think they pee more than average: 
numbers of swimmers × 2 = gallons of pee

If they are more disciplined:
numbers of swimmers × 0.5 = gallons of pee

An Olympic pool would contain over 130 gallons of pee.

While some people swear by the health benefits of drinking urine, which is sterile, taking a gulp of the stuff in a swimming pool is not a good idea.

Urine contains many nitrogenous compounds such as urea, ammonia, amino acids, and creatinine. These compounds can react with disinfectants (e.g., chlorine) in swimming pools to form disinfection byproducts (DBPs).

Although considered a taboo, 19 percent of adults have admitted to having urinated in swimming pools at least once.

So be cool, don’t pee in the pool!

If you are interested watching Mark Rober’s research video, go on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S32y9aYEzzo

A Nearby Summer Escaping Plan

The city has been rainy and wet for a month, and you wonder when is this going to end. When the rain stops, it’s time for the heat, and voilà, summer is here. It gets hot and humid in Hangzhou, but there are places nearby you can go to enjoy a cooler environment. These include the islands, mountains, lakes and rivers in or near Hangzhou, and the local water parks.

01 - TONGLU -
Luci Bay 桐庐-芦茨湾

Luci Village is situated on the bank of the Fuchun River and is located beside the Longmenwan Scenic Area in the south of the Yangtze River. The village of Luci has a beautiful landscape with a wealth of rural tourism attractions such as Luci Tutu and Yanlingwu Orchard. Luci Village has a long history and profound cultural heritage. This is the hometown of the late Tang poet Fang Gan. In the village of Luci, there are relatively complete ancient buildings such as Chengong Temple and Linggu Temple with historical and traditional features, ancient lanes, old bridges, and ancestral halls.

There are plenty of water entertainment projects to play. Pick a sunny weekend, bring your water gun and swimsuit, and go have a thrilling rafting or water skiing. If you don't want to go into the water, rent a bicycle to go around the lake, 50RMB for pedal boat for unlimited time, the price is very affordable. Or you can bring a small basket to dig bamboo shoots, pick some raspberries, wild vegetables and herbs. Take a bite on that ice cold watermelon, or ask for a cup of Luci black tea on the way to the mountain is also very good.

- TONGLU -
Yaolin Wonderland 桐庐-瑶琳仙境


During the Olympic season, visitors coming to the Yaolin caves can watch the live broadcast of the Games while cooling off in the caves. Yaolin Wonderland is a group of limestone caves formed by corrosion through the ages. With stalagmite and peak stones in fantastic shapes and colors as well as murmuring streams, pools and cliffs, its halls are interconnected with passages and chambers.

Yaolin Wonderland stretches 1km in depth and covers 28,000 sqm. It ranks second on the list of the newly developed natural scenic sports among the Forty Best Tourist Resorts in China. It was also awarded as one of the Ten Best Tourist Resorts in Zhejiang province.

In the spacious fourth to sixth halls of Yaolin Wonderland, 300-odd immortals from more than 20 myths and legends, such as Nuwa Patching the Skies and Houyi Shooting Down the Nine Suns, are displayed through lifelike modern audio-animatronics, complementing the beauty of the stalagmites in the other three halls of Yaolin Wonderland and adding a touch of mythology.

02 - DEQING -
Moganshan 德清-莫干山


Moganshan, part of China’s Moganshan National Park, about 1 hour by private car southwest of Shanghai, the lush mountain has long been the stomping ground of high-profile politicians (a list that once included Chairman Mao), foreign missionaries, Chinese gangsters, and well-heeled expats.

Thanks to its elite clientele and countryside appeal, the area has been dubbed the “Hamptons of China,” though visitors will have to trade a sandy coastline for rolling tea plantations and restored 19th-century mansions. Even without the beaches of Long Island, the draw is clear: It’s the kind of place where you can wander through tea plantations by day and sip French wines in a private cellar late into the evening. After a busy week of work in Hangzhou, where temperatures hover around 38 degrees in the summer, Moganshan provides cool mountain air and a blissfully wide-open itinerary.

There are a few places we recommend you to stay, simply search: Le Passage, naked Stables, Solvang Village Boutique on www.morehangzhou.com

03 - JIANDE -
Xin'an River 建德-新安江


Listed with the first group of national scenic spots ever adopted, the city of Jiande is described as a bright pearl along the golden tourist route from Zhejiang province to neighboring Anhui.

The Xin'an River attracts thousands of visitors from both home and abroad every year. Linking Yellow Mountain at its headwaters and Thousand-Island Lake at its lower reaches, the river winds among high mountains.

Due to its splendid landscapes, the river is renowned as a gallery where water meets mountains. Xin'an River is famous for its clear water - in summer or winter, its riverbed can be clearly seen. The temperature of the river remains 17 degrees through the whole year, and the fog on the river is also a wonder.

And forget to try the local specialty: Fish Head!

04 - LIN'AN -
West Zhejiang Grand Canyon 临安-浙西大峡谷


West Zhejiang Grand Canyon is located in the City of Lin'an in western Hangzhou. The canyon is one of the famed landscapes in western Zhexi. There are 4 main sightseeing areas: Jiamen Pass, White Horse Cliff, Zhelin Waterfall, and Laodui Brook.

From White Horse Cliff, you can see a landscape that includes waterfalls, brooks, and cliffs. At Jiamen Pass, you experience rafting or you can enjoy walking along trails through the canyon. At Zhelin Waterfall, you can see Yansheng Waterfall and Longmen Waterfall, the waters of which are exceptionally cool. An important feature of Laodui Brook is a display of cultural activities there.

- LIN'AN -
Qingshan Lake 临安-青山湖


Qingshan Lake is a manmade lake 4-5 kilometers to the east of Lin'an. Lined with metasequoia trees, the Lake makes a unique view. There is also a barbecue court and a small playing ground where you could go parachuting on the water. The best way to appreciate the views here is by boat. Tickets are available at Qinshan and Shenghe, two piers at the south bank of the Lake. You may board and alight at the same pier. There are two types of rides, with one taken on boats painted in the style of classic pleasure boats, and the other on yachts.

05 - LISHUI -
Songyang Ruoliao 丽水 - 松阳箬寮


Songyang County is located in the mountains of southwest Zhejiang and has over 1800 years of history. This is a famous city of provincial history. Historically, it was the economic center of Chuzhou (today's Lishui), and it has many historical relics, including the domestically and internationally famous Yanqing Temple Pagoda. The many cultural sites here also include the Huang Courtyard, the “Ming-Qing Neighborhood,” and the Xiongdi Jinshi (“Brothers Who Passed the Imperial Exam”) memorial gate.

The Ruoliao Primeval Forest is located in Songyang County. It is a small canyon between Lishui Mountain. The cool climate, dense vegetation accompanied by waterfalls and streams make the original forest a good place to escape the heat. The main thing here is to experience the farmhouse music, listen to the sound of the stream, breathe the fresh air and enjoy the fun of nature.

Shanghai’s Waste Classification Has Spawned A New Occupation

Lately, Shanghai citizens have been busy learning how to sort their garbage.

Overnight, all the garbage bins in Shanghai's major residential complexes disappeared! Residents can now only dispose of their garbage at designated garbage disposal points which are locked up during most of the day.

Each resident will be allocated with a time to dump their waste and a designated station within their vicinity, where they can sort garbage into bins.

The daily time for garbage disposal is regulated:
7am - 9am
6pm – 8pm

(Slightly different for different places)

Garbage must be sorted, otherwise the penalty will be between 50RMB-200RMB.

After the garbage bins were removed, some residents took garbage to work, some dumped them on the street late at night.

"On July 28, 2018, the garbage bins were removed. Although there was a lot of publicity previously (to educate the residents), the complex was like a big garbage dump the day after." Shi Jingjing, secretary of the party branch of the Fushi residential area in Minhang District, Shanghai, recalled, “After the garbage bins were removed and the designated garbage bins put in place, most residents, especially the elderly, found it easier to sort their garbage." Shi Jingjing said, "But some of the young people do not follow the waste classification rules. Some people throw garbage into the street trash can outside the complex. Some people take the garbage with them to throw in the garbage bins where they work.”

“In the vicinity of street shops, there will be a lot of unsorted overnight garbage in the morning.” said Wang Junxiong, head of the business department of Shanghai Jiangchuan Environmental Sanitation Comprehensive Service Co., Ltd. “The urban management, law enforcement, and other departments have their off-duty hours, some merchants would throw the unsorted garbage on the street in the evening. Even if they were discovered, the punishment is not hard enough.” In some communities, in order to find the owner of the ownerless garbage that was thrown away, the residents’ committee officials even went through the garbage to look for clues.

Garbage Disposal Service!

So some “smart” people have developed a new business:
Garbage disposal!

Ms. Chen said she goes out early and comes home late every day. Garbage disposal is scheduled at certain times of the day, which gives her a headache. After all, some people are busy.

Fortunately, some people started to provide garbage disposal services at the complex where she lives. She only needs to leave the sorted garbage at her door. At 9am every day, someone will come to take them to the designated garbage disposal point. The cost is 1RMB each time and 30RMB a month.

Waste sorting is just beginning. It will be a long journey for a big country like China. Apart from enhancing garbage storage sites, local environmental agencies are aiming to resolve garbage overflow in the districts of Jing’an, Changning, Yangpu, Fengxian, Songjiang and Chongming by the end of 2018. Other districts will follow suit next year, and it is expected that a fully conceived national system - including the enforcement of garbage fees - will be in place by 2020.

Your Latest Bus Guide to Xiaoshan & Pudong Airports

Starting from June 21st, the Yellow Dragon Stadium Station will no longer operate. There will be two locations where you can get a bus to Shanghai Pudong Airport. The journey takes about 3.5 hours and the ticket cost is 120RMB. Here are the details:

To Shanghai Pudong Airport
上海浦东机场大巴


From Wulinmen
武林门民航售票处

(390 Tiyuchang Road体育场路390号)

5:30am, 6:10am, 7am, 8am, 9am, 10am, 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 3:50pm, 4:30pm, 5:30pm

From Hangzhou East Train Station
杭州火车东站


5:55am, 6:45am, 7:35am, 8:35am, 9:35am, 10:35am, 11:35am, 12:35pm, 1:35pm, 2:35pm, 3:35pm, 4:25pm, 5:05pm, 6:05pm

We also collected information for how to get to Xiaoshan Airport. Here are the details:

Bus to Xiaoshan Airport
萧山机场大巴


From Wulinmen
武林门民航售票处

(390 Tiyuchang Road体育场路390号)

Stops at: Bus station at the junction of Pinghai Road and Yuewang Road 平海路岳王路口公交车站 (You can purchase your ticket at: 平海路杭州市职工国际旅行社内)

First bus: 5am
Last bus: 9pm
Every 15 minutes from 5am to 5pm.
Every 30 minutes from 5pm to 9pm.

From Chengzhan Train Station
城站火车站


Inside of Chengzhan Train Station Bus Station 城站火车站汽车客运站内.
Add: 12-8 East Huancheng Road 环城东路12-8号

First bus: 5am
Last bus: 9pm
Every 30 minutes.

From Xiasha
下沙


Hangzhou Eastern International Business Center, South Haida Road 海达南路杭州东部国际商务中心
Stops at:  Shengtai Kaiyuan Mingdu Hotel 盛泰开元名都酒店

7:15am, 9:30am, 10:30am, 12:10pm, 1:40pm, 3:10pm, 4:30pm, 6:15pm

From Hangzhou East Train Station
火车东站


Every 30 minutes from 5:30am from 9am.
Every 15 minutes from 9am to 9pm.

From Binjiang
滨江


Overseas Business Park, 368 Liuhe Road 六和路368号海外创业园
Stops at:  Ramada Plaza Riverside Hangzhou (华美达大酒店), and Jiangling Road Subway Station (江陵路地铁站)

6am, 7:30am, 8:30am, 9:30am, 10am, 11:20am, 12:30pm, 1:40pm, 2:50pm, 4pm, 5:20pm, 6:40pm

From Future Science and Technology City
未来科技城


Hangzhou Future Science and Technology City Overseas High-Level Talents Innovation Park杭州未来科技城海创园

6:40am, 7:35am, 8:40am, 9:25am, 10:20am, 11:10am, 12:30pm, 1:20pm, 2:20pm, 3:20pm,  4:20pm, 5:25pm, 5:55pm, 6:40pm

From Xixi Wetland
西溪湿地


Longshezui, Xixi Wetland 杭州市西溪湿地龙舌嘴

8am, 10am, 12:20pm, 3:30pm

From Lake View Hotel
望湖宾馆


2 West Huancheng Road 环城西路2号

9am, 11am, 1:20pm, 4:30pm

From Hangzhou Terminal
杭州客运中心

(3339 East Desheng Rd. Jiubao Town 九堡镇德胜东路3339号)

6:40am, 7:40am, 8:45am, 8:50am, 9:10am, 9:40am, 10:10am, 10:40am, 11:20am, 12:10pm, 12:50pm, 1:30pm, 2:05pm, 2:35pm, 3:20pm, 4pm, 4:35pm, 5:10pm, 5:50pm, 6:30pm, 7:10pm, 7:40pm, 8:20pm, 8:55pm

From Hangzhou North Bus Station
杭州长途汽车北站

(766 Moganshan Road 莫干山路766号)

5:15am, 6am, 6:45am, 7:40am, 8:10am, 8:40am, 9:20am, 10am, 10:40am, 11:30am, 12:10pm, 12:40pm, 1:20pm, 1:45pm, 2:30pm, 3:10pm, 3:50pm, 4:20pm, 5pm, 5:40pm, 6:20pm, 7pm, 7:40pm, 8:20pm, 9pm, 9:40pm, 10:10pm

From Hangzhou South Bus Station
杭州长途汽车南站

(407 Qiutao Road 秋涛路407号)

6:20am, 7:20am, 8:20am, 9:20am, 10:30am, 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm, 2:20pm, 3:30pm, 4:30pm, 5:30pm, 6:30pm, 7:30pm, 8:30pm, 9:10pm

From Hangzhou West Bus Station
杭州长途汽车西站

(357 Tianmushan Road  天目山路357号)

6:20am, 7:20am, 8:20am, 9:20am, 10:30am, 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm, 2:20pm, 3:30pm, 4:30pm, 5:30pm, 6:30pm, 7:30pm, 8:30pm, 9:10pm

We recommend you this platform to book your bus ticket. Not only can you buy tickets for the airport shuttle bus, but also to other cities as well. You can use your passport to purchase tickets.

To Come Back from Xiaoshan Airport

The shuttle buses of Hangzhou Airport usually take an hour to the city center and around 50 minutes to Xiaoshan District. To buy tickets, go to Gate 14, Arrival Hall, on the first floor of the domestic terminal.

China is Getting Serious about Waste Classification

China has been making efforts on waste sorting or waste recycling for decades, but there are still many problems yet to be solved. Eight cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing and Hangzhou were considered national pilot cities for garbage sorting in 1998. Twenty years on, their efforts have not achieved the desired results. According to the People's Daily, the failure of garbage classification was due to three reasons: a lack of awareness from residents, misconduct from garbage workers and insufficient financial support.

According to a survey released by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment research center, 63.7 percent of people surveyed believe that the reason why they fail to sort the garbage is due to the lack of classified waste bins in their residential communities. 59.6 percent of people blame their behavior on the failure of city garbage disposal services, which mix all garbage together, leading people to think that there's no point in sorting.

Other reasons include that the residents don't know how to sort; they have no sense of accomplishment; they think sorting is complicated, exhausting and few people around them do it.

First Penalty in Hangzhou for Garbage Classification

On May 30th, 2019, Hangzhou Jianggan District officially imposed penalties for the classification of personal waste.

On the morning of May 30, Mr. Zhang, who lives in Caihe Street in Jianggan District, signed his name on the “Administrative Punishment Decision”. Jianggan District City Management Office fined Mr. Zhang for 50RMB because the garbage was misplaced.

Mr. Zhang became the first person in Hangzhou who was not properly sorting garbage and was subject to administrative punishment.

Shanghai Will Be the First City to Enforce Garbage Classification

Yes, starting from July 1st, 2019, Garbage Classification will be officially implemented in Shanghai!

Shanghai is going to be the pioneer city for waste sorting and recycling, which makes it the first city in China to publish harsh regulations on garbage sorting and recycling. The government has put out a list of categories for sorting waste including recyclable, hazardous, wet and dry. It also specified the punishments for individuals and companies that break the rules.

Fines for individual mixed garbage will be up to 200RMB

Fines for companies, organizations, and complex mixing of garbage will be up to 50,000RMB

For individuals, authorities will fine a maximum of 200RMB (about 29 U.S. dollars) for mixing the garbage, while companies and organizations that are in charge of garbage sorting, transporting, processing and management will be fined a maximum 50,000RMB (about 72,357 U.S. dollars).

The regulation will come into effect on July 1 and was passed by the people's congress of Shanghai municipal city on January 31, 2018.

Garbage Classification

Basically divided into four categories: Hazardous Waste, Recyclable Waste, Household Food Waste, and Residual Waste. Check out the colours and Chinese below:

These four categories are the major ones. How do we distinguish them? We explain each category for you, let’s start with Recyclable Waste.

Recyclable Waste
可回收垃圾


Paper, plastic, scrap metal, glass bottles & containers, magazines, books & cardboard, clothes, fabric, toys, take-out or food delivery packaging

This is where your plastic bottles and containers go, unless they are dirty and can’t be cleaned, in which case, they go in the Residual Waste (干垃圾) bin. Pour out the liquid before you throw your drink bottles or food containers away. Rinse them with water and squash them. You’re doing the sanitation workers a huge favor by reducing the size and weight, and giving them a bit of dignity.

Cosmetic brands such as Kiehl's, Origins, M.A.C, Shiseido, and Innisfree can take your returned containers and reward you with small samples and membership points.

Household Food Waste
湿垃圾


Food waste, expired food, shells & husk, dead plants, Chinese medicine

Anything type of food waste belongs in this category. The chicken bones from last night, the shells from your favourite spicy crayfish, shrimp, or crab, the plant you bought three months ago and is now dead, grape skin, fruit peels… but leftover milk or yogurt should be poured directly into your sink.

Most organic food waste belongs here, except things that are hard to break down, like big bones and coconut shells, which go in the Residual Waste (干垃圾) bin. Remember to remove the plastic from anything you put in these bins.

Residual Waste
干垃圾


Anything else goes to Residual Waste.

Bottles or cans that are dirty and can’t be cleaned should go in the Residual Waste (干垃圾) bin. Things like face mask packaging, nail polish bottles, cotton sticks, toothbrushes, towels, used tissues, tampons, diapers, cigarette butts, plant pots, plastic wrap, yogurt or milk bottles (you need to empty the bottle first). Clean food packaging goes to Recyclable, dirty and used packaging goes to Residual Waste.

Waimai containers are incredibly hard to recycle, even the paper-based ones. These containers are often lined with polyethylene and tainted with food residue so they are very unpopular among garbage collectors -- it’s not worth their effort to wash them or separate the liners. The same goes for disposable coffee cups. This is a problem.

So here are the four steps we suggest you do. First, separate the clean paper/plastics and dirty containers. Leftover food →Household Food Waste Bin (湿垃圾); dirty containers →Residual Waste (干垃圾) bin; Clean bags → Recyclable (可回收物) bin.

Hazardous Waste
有害垃圾


Used batteries (rechargeable batteries, button batteries, batteries), paint cans, waste lamp, paint buckets, pesticides (there are residues that need to be sealed in advance and then disposed of), expired or discarded drugs, and other hazardous materials.

In newer residential areas, they are usually right next to the other bins, in red or with a red label. If you don’t have one in your neighborhood, talk to your local neighborhood management about options for disposal. That’s kind of mafan but we all need to do the best we can.

If you are wondering how many garbage bags you should have at home to handle daily waste, we have an idea for you to try.

More Options for Recyclable Waste

For books, Duozhuayu (多抓鱼) is great for selling and buying second-hand books. Funded by Tencent, Duozhuayu has a system that verifies and estimates the value of your books, and they will collect the books from you free of charge.

For clothes, take them back to the store, or take them to H&M. Clothing shops Uniqlo, H&M, and Zara all provide recycling services for used clothes from their own shops; H&M even accepts clothes from other brands.

Social enterprise Feimayi (飞蚂蚁) is at the forefront of online textile recycling in China and provides a free collection service for more than five kg of clothes. Also funded by Tencent, like Duozhuayu, it’s accessible via desktop and WeChat mini-program. Find the QR code by scrolling down on their website. Basic Chinese is needed to navigate the app and fill out the form.

Aihuishou (爱回收) is China’s largest platform for recycling and selling second-hand electronics. They have offline stores in shopping malls throughout the city.

Xianyu (闲鱼) is Taobao’s second-hand marketplace. Although not desktop-friendly, you can sell almost anything there. The platform is super active due to its sheer size. There is an amazing, incredible, wonderfully efficient and hugely profitable Buy & Sell section here.

Green Initiatives offers transparent waste management for e-waste, paper, and textile waste. They also have recycling bins at URBN hotel, Element Fresh, and many other private and public collection points around Shanghai. For home pick up, Feibao, a social enterprise that works with Green Iniatitives offers recycling service through WeChat.

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