China-focused Satire, Social Commentary, Comics and More

This Ridiculous World Guide: China – Garbage Vessels


Coming from America, or some nation similarly skilled in methods of clandestine waste removal – with magic, automatic flush toilets; color-coded trash bins; and troops of picker-uppers who carouse the streets in great machines with as much authority as fire engines – such unglamorous, undisguised removal may be a bit shocking. Here in this ancient land where waste abounds but western maintenance/disposal requires immense retrofitting, one can witness the reality of consumption, rejection, and excretion throughout the streets.

Perhaps most compelling to see is the fleets of vehicles sent out into the cities to collect the various wastes, from the two-bucket slop-cycle to the ubiquitous refuse rickshaws. No trip is complete without being nearly run down by one of these stinky, overflowing contraptions.

Side note: If time permits, nothing is more educative than engaging in the process firsthand. To experience life as a local, try simply dropping (wherever you may be) your unwanted items – plastic, paper, oily food, or bone – and take a seat nearby; before long, some orange-jacketed sweeper will come along and transfer what you’ve left to their cart (granting you the momentary sense of superiority which must surely be felt by domestic pets). Or, if you come across one of official “Can be reused rubbish/Can’t be reused rubbish” bins, toss your trash in the appropriate side – if you’re lucky, someone may come along and overturn the receptacles, dumping their contents onto the sidewalk to make it easier for them to be scooped up later on.

Location: Every street
Cost: Minor to severe aggravation of olfactory sense
Domestic Attention Level: Virtually none

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