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Urban and rural waste in China

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This free course, Urban and rural waste in China, is an introduction to the waste practices and waste management processes currently being practiced in China. Students learn about waste in China and then contrast those practices with their own.

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • explain and apply the importance of the waste hierarchy to waste management
  • understand that economic development changes the nature and amount of waste generated
  • consider a case study of unregulated waste dumping and the environmental impacts contrasted with digital waste products (digital dumping)
  • recognise that informal waste collection systems play important roles in recycling and job creation
  • compare and contrast waste output levels for a range of different countries.

By: The Open University

  • Duration 8 hours
  • Updated Wednesday 9th March 2016
  • Introductory level
  • Posted under The Environment
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Urban and rural waste in China


Unit image

China has become the workshop of the world as the Chinese are becoming greater consumers themselves, from their changing diet to owning more household things. The production cycle and the waste inputs and outputs that this can generate is creating an increasing problem of waste in China. This course explores how it is being dealt with and considers mainly solid wastes. Waste has increased in both the urban and rural areas, with varying levels of formalised waste collection systems in place (Figure 1), normally in the urban areas where city municipalities have taken a lead in waste management.

Figure 1 Keeping the streets clean is big business in China. In Beijing, nearly every back street has a large rubbish receptacle owing to the high number of hutong clearances

This OpenLearn course is an adapted extract from the Open University course U116Environment: journeys through a changing world [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

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