China’s Recycling Entrepreneurs

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An interesting video podcast by an outfit calling itself China’s Green Beat (中国绿色脉搏) on rubbish recyclers in Beijing. It’s not entirely clear to me from their website who these guys are, although they do introduce themselves in the podcast and seem like personable, well-meaning young men. Amidst all the gloom about China’s economy, it’s nice to see the occasional example of things that work. There are small examples of success in the battle to reverse the accelerating disaster that is befalling China’s environment, but so far most of them are just that, small. It took Taiwan tens of billions of dollars and as many years to clean up the worst of the pollution caused by its economic boom. In China the problem is on an almost inconceivably larger scale and to some of the environmental types I talk to, not comparable. The more pessimistic ones just don’t think that you can solve this by throwing money and time at the problem a la Love Canal in the U.S. Personally, I always thought that just Beijing’s calculations regarding the environment rested on the assumption that once economic growth had earned enough cash, that money could be used to fix things. I hope I’m right and my green friends wrong.