China’s Construction Rubble


“With hundreds of millions of tons of waste quietly dumped on the outskirts of China’s major cities each year, the rate of growth has made it increasingly inescapable.  In January, construction waste was dumped on imperial tombs from the Ming Dynasty in the city of Xi’an. The debris caused a wall around the tomb site to collapse and half-buried a 600-year old statue of an official.”(AUSTIN RAMZY)

As the rapid development of China these years, million of new buildings built.  How many buildings we tear down? And how many materials waste during these process.  In China, we haven’t got the construction material recycle system.  The only recycle material is metal.  So most time, the waste are dumped on the suburb of the cities.  Imagining when it gets heavy rain or strong wind, how people live in these districts. 

“Buildings in China are typically torn down after 30 years, compared to 75 years in the United States and even longer in Europe.  Extrapolating from data from Shanghai, which has released annual tallies of demolitions, University of Hong Kong Professor Mr. Lu estimates that China produced more than two billion tons of construction waste in 2011. Whereas Japan recycles as much as 95 percent of its construction waste, in China the number is roughly reversed, with less than 5 percent reused.” (AUSTIN RAMZY)

In Chinese, when you call it “waste”, it sounds like “garbage”, It’s very negative. People would doubt the quality of the recycle material.  We need to change that perspective.

Another important thing is that buildings in China are typically torn down after 30 years.  We don’t have the sense of preserve the building.  We have got some towns near my hometown in which have historical buildings.  Now, most of them are destroyed.  We just keep three towns for preserve.  These three is for what?  For tourists?  That’s ridiculous.  Historical preserve idea need spread to China and people will know how to preserve, instead of tearing down the building and memory.  

 China’s Mountains of Construction Rubble, by AUSTIN RAMZY October 23, 2013, The New York Times

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