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Waste Management 26 (2006) 1052–1062


Country report

Urban solid waste management in Chongqing: Challenges

and opportunities
a,* a,b a,b a
Yuan Hui , Wang LiÕao , Su Fenwei , Hu Gang
Department of Resource and Environmental Science, Chongqing University, Chongqing 400044, China
Key Lab for the Exploitation of Southwestern Resource and the Environmental Disaster Control Engineering, Ministry of Education China,
Chongqing University, Chongqing, China

Accepted 15 September 2005

Available online 8 November 2005


The dual influences of the resource supply and protection in ecological environments will pose a significant challenge to ChinaÕs sus-
tainable development. Solid waste management offers opportunities to improve profits by conserving resources and improving environ-
mental performance. This paper examines municipal solid waste (MSW) management in urban Chongqing, the nationÕs fourth largest
municipality after Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin. In this paper, we will provide information on the quantity and composition of MSW, as
well as give an overview of different methods for collection, transport, treatment and disposal of MSW. At present the daily amount of
MSW generated per person is about 1.08 kg; food waste accounts for about 59% of total MSW. MSW in Chongqing has a higher mois-
ture content (64.1%) and a lower LHV (3728 kJ/kg) than other cities in Asia, which is an obstruction for incineration. Landfills are the
main method of disposal in Chongqing, but pollution caused by simple landfills and lack of backup MSW disposal capacity are becoming
major problems in the main districts of Chongqing. In this paper, the challenges being faced and opportunities to MSW in Chongqing are
analyzed and some suggestions are given for improving the MSW system in the future.
 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction produced by discharging untreated waste; (iii) indirectly

saving energy. At present, ISWM is considered to be an
In the past 20 years, the Chinese economy has achieved optimized waste management system where the environ-
faster growth, but ecological damage and environmental mentally and economically best solution is chosen for each
pollution have also increased at a high rate. The govern- case, without regard to the waste hierarchy (Sundeqvist,
ment, and national and foreign experts, agree that the dual 1999), and to be the key towards successful MSW treat-
influences of resource supply and protection of ecological ment (Hu et al., 1998). The implementation of the ISWM
environments will pose a significant challenge to ChinaÕs system, however, depends on several important factors
sustainable development (Qi, 2004; Su and Wang, 2003). such as the country statutes, environmental requirements,
Since China already produces 29% of the worldÕs MSW the strategies in environmental management, energy policy,
each year (Dong et al., 2001), an integrated solid waste economic and technological feasibility, and the education
management (ISWM) system that includes the reducing, and environmental awareness of the Chinese people.
reusing, recycling and disposal of waste material will play Some advanced industrial countries, such as Germany,
an important role in ChinaÕs sustainable development due Sweden, Japan, and the United States have achieved
to its several benefits: (i) reducing the depletion of the remarkable results in resource comprehensive utilization
earthÕs limited natural resources; (ii) reducing pollution and solid waste management. As shown in Fig. 1, there
have been a lot of changes in the strategies of solid waste
Corresponding author. Tel./fax: +86 23 65111477. management in these countries during the period of
E-mail address: yandyson@163.com (H. Yuan). 1960–2004. One revolutionary change was that the solid

0956-053X/$ - see front matter  2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
H.Yuan et al. / Waste Management 26 (2006) 1052–1062 1053

1960~1975 1975~1990 1990~2004

Landfilling Classification Reduction
Recycling ISWM

Composting Recycling
Recovery Incineration Landfills

Fig. 1. Solid waste management – revolutionary changes in the strategies in the advanced industrial countries during the period 1960–2004.

waste management begins with reduction – using less to disposal in Chongqing Municipality are becoming vital to
begin with and reusing more – and recycling. In addition, the environmental protection of the Reservoir area.
incinerating and composting organic waste became domi- In this paper, ChongqingÕs urban solid waste manage-
nant methods of solid waste treatment instead of disposal ment is introduced in detail with regard to the areaÕs solid
by landfills. waste characteristics, management, collection system,
Currently there are about 660 cities in China that pro- treatment processes and the disposal methods. The major
duce an annual quantity of about 130 Mt of solid waste. problems faced at the main districts in the Chongqing
In general, China still has a bigger gap in solid waste recy- Municipality will also be analyzed. Our analysis explains
cling, treatment technology, and management strategy the future challenges and opportunities for improving the
compared with many advanced countries. Throughout solid waste management system.
the country, solid waste management is becoming a major
issue. The treatment and disposal of urban solid waste will 2. Generation and characteristics of the urban solid wastes
be an important goal for the governments of all cities in the
years to come. In this area, the potential for development The amount of MSW generated in the main districts of
and business opportunities are enormous in China. Chongqing has increased with the growth of the economy
Chongqing, located in southwest of China, is the and urban population. In 1996, the total amount of the
nationÕs fourth largest municipality after Beijing, Shanghai, MSW was 0.888 million tons, the average amount gener-
and Tianjin. It is also the economic center and the hub of ated per day equaled 3072 tons and the daily amount gen-
all transportation (water, land, and air) in and out of erated per person was 0.95 kg (Li and Gu, 2001). In 2001,
southwestern China with busy rivers and highways radiat- the annual total and average amount generated per day
ing in all directions. Because of its location at the head of rose to about 1.16 million tons and 3176 tons, respectively,
the very large reservoir behind the Three Gorges Dam, which means the daily amount generated per person rose to
Chongqing is slated to become the beachhead for the devel- nearly 1.08 kg. As shown in Fig. 2, urban solid waste
opment of western China. (USW), is mainly composed of domestic refuse, road clean-
Chongqing Municipality has 40 districts and counties ing refuse and institutional refuse (official, business,
with an area of about 82,000 km2, and population of about schools, and service industries), as well as a small amount
31 million people. The main urban area of Chongqing of construction refuse.
Municipality, often called Chongqing, consists of nine dis- Table 1 shows the composition of USW in the main dis-
tricts (Dadukou, Yuzhong, Jiangbei, Shapingba, Jiu- tricts of Chongqing Municipality. It is clear that the concen-
longpo, NanÕan, Beibei, BaÕnan, and Yubei) and is the tration of food waste in urban solid waste makes up the
center of the Chongqing Municipality in finance, education highest proportion at 59.2% followed by plastics, paper,
and culture. These main districts are between Yangtze fiber, wood, glass, metal, and rubber. The metal content of
River and Jialing River. In the past, most of the MSW solid waste generated in Shapingba district is higher than
was piled along the riversides, dumped directly into the in the two other sites. The characteristics of USW composi-
river or just minimally treated. The secondary pollution tion at the main districts in Chongqing are shown in Table 2.
caused by the MSW was harmful to the sanitation and Compared with the results of an investigation in 1998 (Li and
environment. For example, during heavy rains leachate Gu, 2001), specific weight, combustibles and ash content
would run off into the Yangtze and Jialing rivers. Now, data in 2002 declined significantly, while the percentage of
as the completion of the Three Gorges Reservoir nears, fiber and paper has increased over the years.
both the riversÕ flow rates and their carrying capacity of It can be seen from Fig. 3 that the composition and
the pollutants will change; both MSW management and properties of the USW generated in Chongqing are
1054 H. Yuan et al. / Waste Management 26 (2006) 1052–1062

Fig. 2. Urban solid waste composition in Chongqing.

Table 1
Composition of urban solid waste in ChongqingÕs main districts (%)
Location Paper Fiber Plastic Rubber Wood Food waste Metal Glass
Longtousi pilling site 10.0 6.1 18.3 0.4 4.4 58.5 0.1 2.2
Xinglong pilling site 9.6 6.6 15.2 0.0 5.1 57.8 0.7 4.9
Shapingba district 10.6 5.5 13.5 0.4 3.0 61.4 2.4 3.2
Average 10.1 6.1 15.7 0.3 4.2 59.2 1.1 3.4

Table 2 Compared with these two cites, the concentration of foods

Characteristics of urban solid waste at the main districts in Chongqing waste and the moisture content of the urban solid waste in
(1998 and 2002)
Chongqing are much higher while the net caloric value is
Characteristics 1998 (Li and Gu, 2001) 2002 much lower. The net caloric value of the solid waste gener-
Food waste percentage (%) 69.3 59.2 ated in Kitakyushu and Singapore is about 9630 and
Paper and fiber percentage (%) 6.5 16.2 8000 kJ/kg, respectively, but the net caloric value of the
Specific weight (kg/m3) 470 351
Combustibles (%) 37.1 22.8
solid waste in Chongqing is only about 3728 kJ/kg.
Ash content (%) 16.31 13.1 Although it meets the lowest caloric value needed for incin-
Moisture content (%) 53.6 64.1 eration, it is far too low for waste heat utilization and cost-
Net calorific value (kJ/kg) – 3728 effective incineration.
Tchobanoglus et al. (1993) propose the following typical
different from two other Asian cities, Kitakyushu, Japan distribution of components in residential MSW for low-
(Kitakyushu Environmental Cooperation Center) and Sin- (per capita income less than US$750, 1990), middle- (per
gapore City, Singapore (Bai and Sutanto, 2002), due to dif- capita income US$750–5000) and upper-income (per capita
ferences in economic development and standards of living. income more than US$ 5000) countries (see Table 3).

Fig. 3. Comparison between three cities.

H.Yuan et al. / Waste Management 26 (2006) 1052–1062 1055

Table 3
Comparison of typical distribution of components between Chongqing and low-, middle- and upper-income countries
Component Chongqing Typical distribution of components in residential MSW (Tchobanoglus et al., 1993)
Low-income Middle-income Upper-income
countries countries countries
Food waste 59.2 40–85 20–65 6–30
Paper 10.1 1–10 8–30 25–60
Plastics 15.7 1–5 2–6 2–8
Textiles, fiber 6.1 1–5 2–10 2–6
Rubber, leather 0.3 1–5 1–4 0–4
Yard waste, wood 4.2 1–5 1–10 11–24
Glass 3.4 1–10 1–10 4–12
Metal 1.1 1–5 1–5 3–13

According to Table 3, Chongqing belongs to the status grows and wealth increases. Even in the more developed
between low- and middle-income levels. Also, according Chinese cities such Guangzhou and Hong Kong, food
to a MSW overview of Asia (Hunsicker et al., 1996), the waste is higher when compared to most western countries
MSW generation (per person per day) in Chongqing in (Chung and Poon, 1998a).
2001 was lower than that of the average MSW generation
level (1.95 kg/person/day) of Japan in 1990s. Developed 3. Urban solid waste management
countries such as Japan and the US have a relatively high
MSW generation rate per person per day, therefore the Under the national laws and regulations of solid waste
changes of the MSW generation and properties of USW management, treatment and disposal, there are local regu-
in Chongqing show that ChongqingÕs standard of living lations and laws related to USW management, such as
has improved and the fuel structure has changed from pre- ‘‘Chongqing Municipal Solid Waste Disposal Fees Levying
dominantly coal use to natural gas. This increase of daily Rules’’ and ‘‘Municipal Solid Waste Management Rules.’’
MSW generation per person with increased economic A representative diagram regarding the solid waste man-
development and standard of living also occurs in other cit- agement systems is given in Fig. 4. ChongqingÕs solid waste
ies in China such as Guangzhou (Chung and Poon, 1998a), management administration consists of two main institu-
but Chinese people have a habit of preferring food that is tions: the Chongqing Environment Protection Bureau
unprocessed and unpackaged. The result of this preference (CEPB) regulates the management of industrial solid waste,
may mean that the proportion of MSW that is made up of while a department under the Chongqing Municipal Admin-
food waste will not decline significantly even as industry istration Commission (CMAC) takes the responsibility for

Fig. 4. Urban solid waste treatment itinerary.

1056 H. Yuan et al. / Waste Management 26 (2006) 1052–1062

the management of the MSW. As shown in Fig. 4, the solid (1) Residential refuse: individual households place their
waste management system includes mainly collection sites, daily refuse into a container nearby, then the refuse
transfer stations, recycling and final disposal. is collected and delivered to the waste collection sta-
As MSW rapidly grew, the Chongqing Solid Waste tion by the residentsÕ committee or the realty manage-
Disposal Company (CSWDC) was founded under the ment department of each individual village. The
management of CMAC. CSWDCÕs work covered the Environmental Sanitary Protection Division of the
design, construction and management of the solid waste Chongqing Municipal Administration Commission
disposal facilities and landfills. Before the reforms of (CMAC) then transfers this refuse to treatment sites.
the separating the government from enterprise manage- In some large residential villages, the refuse is col-
ment, the Chongqing Solid Waste Company was an eco- lected and sent directly to the treatment sites by the
nomic unit of the CMAC that was, in turn, an real estate company.
administrative department of the local government. After (2) Institutional refuse: the collection and transportation
the reforms had taken place and in order to enhance the of institutional refuse are the responsibility of the
treatment level of Chongqing, the CSWDC separated individual institutions or professional environment
from the CMAC, and a state-owned company financed and protection companies. (These are paid services.)
by a local authority, the Environmental and Sanitary (3) Commercial refuse: at most food markets in Chongq-
Protection Holding Groups (ESPHG) was founded. The ing, fresh vegetables are often delivered from local
ESPHG has been authorized to manage the stateÕs prop- farms and therefore offered directly to the consumer
erties as well as licensed to operate the cleaning, transfer- with very little packaging. Because of this direct
ring and disposing of urban solid waste through various source, the refuse always contains a high proportion
facilities in the main districts of Chongqing Municipality. of organic matter. Except for some unwanted vegeta-
As a result of market economic principles, the Chongq- bles that are reused as forage to feed animals in the
ing Solid Waste Disposal Company (CSWDC) has now farms, most refuse is collected by the food marketÕs
become a sub-company of ESPHG. management office and is sent to the treatment sites
3.1. Collection system (4) Road and public places cleaning refuse: the cleaning
of roads, public places and disposal of this refuse is
Source-separated collection of household-generated the responsibility of a department under the CMAC.
MSW is one of the key steps for integrated solid waste The cleaning refuse is first collected into a nearby
management (ISWM). Source-separated collection means container, and then it is sent to treatment sites by col-
that the MSW is first classified as several different parts lection vehicles.
such as composting material (food waste), combustible (5) Construction refuse: the materials that are unable to
materials (fiber and paper) and recyclable materials be either recycled or reused are sent directly by the
(metals and glass). Once classified, these different waste construction company to the treatment sites for
types are then collected and forwarded to the appropri- disposal.
ate users. Unfortunately, source-separated collection at
the household level has not yet been implemented In some large residential villages, residents are required
successfully in Chongqing. At present, the main to sort their waste before setting out their waste in bags to
collection systems of the MSW (as shown in Fig. 5) be collected. In 2002, the rate of waste packaging was 68%
are as follows: (CEPB, 2002) and the waste containers on the streets were

By residents or
residential village management companies
Institutional refuse
Residential refuse Collection sites (two situations)

By each institution

Transfer stations Commercial refuse

Refuse container
(Separating recyclable thing) (two situations)

By CMAC By each market et al.

Road cleaning refuse Disposal sites

Fig. 5. Urban solid waste collection system in Chongqing main districts.

H.Yuan et al. / Waste Management 26 (2006) 1052–1062 1057

not suitable for waste classification. However since 2002, fer station is a two-story building. The collected MSW is
the government has made some attempts to encourage res- temporally stored in the MWS holding facility that has a
idents to classify their waste. In some areas of Chongqing, trap door through the ceiling of the first floor. The truck
for example, Shapingba district, the waste containers were can enter the first floor, and when the trap door in the ceil-
re-designed. Local authorities changed the one-box waste ing is opened, the temporarily stored MSW can be auto-
receptacle into a container with two boxes, one for recycla- matically dumped into the truck. In terms of sanitation,
ble waste and the other for non-recyclable waste (distin- these transfer stations are well managed and maintained.
guished by different colors of the containers as well as a
label). In addition, a special box for battery disposal was
3.3. Recycling and treatment
set between the two containers.
At present, USW is collected in a mixed state, but
About 6.9% of all USW in Chongqing is incinerated and
residents can volunteer to participate in the source-
only 1.8% is composted. According to 1999 data, the
separated collection. For residential areas, there are two
amount disposed of by simple landfills was about 91%,
types of urban solid waste collection: collection at roadsides
(Li and Gu, 2001).
and household collection. Roadside waste collection is a
method where residents sort recyclable items into the spe-
3.3.1. Recycling
cific collection containers offered by the local authorities.
In recycling, waste materials are processed for industrial
Although many households collect the relatively high valu-
use and then reformed into new or similar products.
able things from the domestic wastes before they place them
Recycling is often viewed as a resource conservation
into the collection sites, most reusable and recyclable items
activity and it may also offer a greater return for many
are sent to collection/transfer stations or treatment sites. As
products in energy savings. The recyclable materials in
in many cities in developing countries, most reusable things
ChongqingÕs MSW are paper, plastic and metal. In
are recovered through the discharging process by scaveng-
Chongqing, each recyclable beer bottle is worth about
ing from nearby counties that have reusable waste collec-
¥0.1–0.2 (US$0.01–0.02), each aluminum soda can, ¥0.05
tion system. However, when the scavengers sort through
(less than US$0.01) and each plastic bottle, ¥0.05–0.1
and remove the reusable items from the waste collection
(US$0.01). Waste paper and magazines are worth about
containers or stations, they also often scatter about the
¥0.2–0.4 (US$0.02–0.05) per kg. These recyclable materials
remaining unwanted waste on the street. This litter causes
are often collected at the source or in waste bins by
sanitation problems and is an additional environmental
scavengers and reusable waste collectors patrolling
issue. In addition, workers sorting through the refuse in
different residential areas. After collection, these items are
transfer stations or treatment stations may come into con-
sent to factories for recycling.
tact with physically and chemically unsafe waste products.
As a result, these workers are at risk for injury and illness;
prolonged contact in this occupation could cause personal 3.3.2. Composting
health and hygiene problems among the operators. This second means of recapturing value of MSW is
The result of an investigation conducted by Chongqing through the use of the natural biodegradation process.
University in 2002 shows that most of the residents in Composting is widely used in Western countries, but in
Chongqing were aware of the pre-collection sorting refuse Chongqing Municipality, the composting method is rarely
containers and understood how to use them. Only 21% used because of several market reasons:
(Liu, 2003) of all the citizens interviewed disapproved of
this refuse sorting system. Therefore, there is a strong trend 1. Because sorting urban solid wastes is not widely prac-
in support of separated refuse collection, which will be ticed by residents, sorting equipment must first be pur-
helpful to future waste recycling and reuse. chased before composting can take place. This
equipment cost would make the price of compost higher
3.2. Transfer station than fertilizer.
2. The public acceptance of composting is low, because
In Chongqing, the transfer station is a small two-storey most farmers have psychological resistance to the prod-
building that is used to facilitate the transfer of urban solid ucts derived from wastes.
waste from smaller collection vehicles to large transport 3. The usefulness of compost is limited. The compost has
vehicles. All of them are storage-load transfer stations or less fertility than the chemical fertilizer. Compost can
places where USW is emptied directly into the storage con- only be used to grow non-food products such as public
tainer and then later loaded into transport vehicles by aux- green spaces. This lack of demand would cause serious
iliary equipment. problems for survival of the compost company.
By the end of 2000, there were 304 transfer stations in 4. Strict regulations, monitoring and quality standards
the main districts of Chongqing. In 2004, there will be which prevent the second pollution of compost is not
469 MSW transfer stations (23,205 m2) with a total trans- adequate; therefore, composting is currently not a rec-
ferring capacity of 3000 t/d. The typical layout of the trans- ommended method (Zhang and Li, 2000).
1058 H. Yuan et al. / Waste Management 26 (2006) 1052–1062

3.3.3. Incineration solid waste is disposed of in a manner that is not environ-

The third approach to recapturing the value of MSW is mentally sound; waste is often exposed to the elements,
to convert the energy stored in waste by incineration. vectors and scavengers, and susceptible to open burning
Although many combustibles are recyclable, there is often or combustion with only minimal dust removal facilities.
a higher total value in burning the waste for energy than in Its pollution-control facilities were always simple and low
recycling it. Currently, only the Yubei MSW treatment in effectiveness. Therefore, the simple landfill had serious
sites have simple incineration facilities (40 t/d), but these environmental problems caused by untreated leachate
sites have no effective waste gas controlling system and lack of covering clay.
and the energy generated by the furnace cannot yet be There were nine simple landfill sites (Table 4) in the
utilized. main districts of Chongqing Municipality; these simple
As stated previously, only 6.9% of the USW in Chongq- landfillsÕ total disposal capacities were below the amount
ing is disposed of through incineration. There is currently of daily urban solid waste generation. Most of these simple
one functional incineration facility in Chongqing, One is MSW treatment sites had MSW separation, compost and
in the Yubei treatment site. The other facility in Xinglong incineration or landfill facilities, but because of cost and
has been shut down. But these are both simple incineration market reasons, the compost and incineration facilities
facilities. When the USW are transferred to the treatment were not in use. Since these simple landfill sites were scat-
sites, they are hand-sorted for recyclable items. After segre- tered in Chongqing, and could not meet the standards of
gation by gravity separation and vibratory screening, they environmental sanitation, Chongqing has now converted
are sent to the incineration facilities. to centralized disposal and has constructed standardized,
ChongqingÕs first modern incineration plant is now modern sanitary landfills in order to improve urban solid
under construction. Tongxing Incineration Plant, located waste disposal methods and management. Currently only
in Tongxing Town, Beibei district, has a capacity of 1000 two out of the original nine simple landfill sites are still
t/d. About 28% of all the urban solid waste in Chongqing open and operating – one in Yubei and the other in Beibei
will be sent to the Tongxing Incineration Plant. This incin- – and they will be closed when Heishizi Sanitary Landfill
eration plant will be equipped with two SITY2000 grates site and Tongxing Incineration plant are opened.
provided by MARTIN GmbH; these grates will be suitable
for waste with a high moisture content, a high percentage
of incombustibles and a low net caloric value. This plant 3.4.2. Sanitary landfill
will be equipped with a pollution control system and elec- Because of the harm caused by simple landfills, Chon-
tricity generation facilities (2 · 12,000 kW). This pollution gqing is now using new and standardized MSW treat-
control system will ensure that the discharge not only meets ment methods to protect the environment and peopleÕs
the Chinese standards for pollution control for municipal health. The first standard sanitary landfill in Chongqing
solid waste incineration, but also can meet the European was the Changshengqiao Sanitary landfill which finished
pollution control standards for municipal solid waste incin- construction and opened in June 2003 (Fig. 6). The total
eration. The schedule for start of operations is at the end of investment costs were ¥480 million (US$57.8 million),
2004. half of which was financed by the World Bank. Chang-
shengqiao Sanitary Landfill is south of the main districts
and covers an area of 68 ha. Its capacity is 1500 t/d,
3.4. Disposal systems serving five of the nine main districts. It is designed for
20 years of service. This landfill employs an engineered
3.4.1. Simple landfill method of disposing solid wastes on land in a manner
In past years, a simple landfill or dump was used for that minimizes environmental hazards by spreading the
urban solid waste disposal in Chongqing main districts. solid waste in thin layers, compacting the solid wastes
This simple landfill treatment method is still broadly used to the smallest practical volume and applying a cover
in many cities of China. Because the main districts are hilly at the end of the operating day.
in terrain, the simple landfill sites were built in the hollows The USW collected at the transfer station is delivered by
between hills, and the waste was put into the pits from vehicles to the temporary piling station of the sanitary
above. The simple landfill is a disposal method in which landfill, then is sent to the operation site for final disposal

Table 4
Simple MSW treatment sites in Chongqing
Location: Qilongcun Renjiawan Xinglong Longtousi Liangfengya Jinggangbei Yubei Jigongtai Liujiaolanya Total
Service area Yuzhong NanÕan NanÕan Jiulongpo Jiangbei Shapingba Beibei Yubei Banan Jiulongpo
(District): Dadukou
Area (ha) 20 3 4.4 5.2 2.8 2 1.4 1.4 1.3
Capacity (t/d) 1000 300 500 400 550 300 150 Closed Closed 3240
Data sources: Department of Resource and Environmental Science, Chongqing University.
H.Yuan et al. / Waste Management 26 (2006) 1052–1062 1059

Collected MSW

Environmental monitoring Sanitation protection


Transferred to
Closure and
the operation section
Unloading Placement Compacted Covering utilization

Runoff Leachate Landfill gas

Surface water Collection Collection pipe

drainage system
Treatment Combustion


Fig. 6. Flowchart of Changshengqiao sanitary landfill site in Chongqing.

by compression dumping vehicles (5–8 t). Leachate gener- become more and more important to solve. Over time,
ated within the sanitary landfill is collected and treated at ChongqingÕs urban population will grow, spreading into
a leachate treatment station to the first level of the the less populated surrounding areas of the city; simple
National Effluent Discharge Standards specified by the landfill sites formerly located in the suburbs now exist
State Environmental Protection Agency of China before within city limits. Because in these simple landfills only a
being discharged into the river. negligible quantity of leachate is treated before being dis-
The daily operational costs of Changshengqiao Sanitary charged into the groundwater, this situation will devalue
Landfill site are about ¥88/t (US$10.63/t), and the collec- the land nearby, pollute the water, land and air as well as
tion and transportation cost of the MSW is about ¥45/t endanger the health of more and more people. Although
(US$5.42/t). Treatment of leachate by the osmotic mem- there are two near standard sanitary landfill facilities
brane costs about ¥2/t (US$2.41/t). (Changshengqiao and Heishizi) being built, occupying such
As landfill capacity is less than the total amount of a large area of land is not economically sound for Chongq-
USW generated per day, a second standard sanitary ingÕs main districts because of the high population density
landfill facility, Heishizi Sanitary Landfill, is now under and high real estate value. After the simple landfill sites
construction. This sanitary landfill is located in the north close, these occupied sites will soon become a part of
of ChongqingÕs main districts, covering the districts north ChongqingÕs urban area and the land will need to be need
of the Jialing River. The landfillÕs total design capacity is re-used in a more practical manner. Therefore, a future
1000 t/d and it is expected that it will be in operation for challenge for Chongqing is to find a way to speed up the
25 years of service. According to the design, by the 5th recovery and stabilization of the landfill sites so that the
year of the landfillÕs operation, the methane generated land can serve a new purpose.
in the landfill will be able to be utilized to generate elec-
tricity. The amount of electricity that can be generated is 4.1.2. Low LHV of the MSW is an impediment to the
estimated to be about 6.75 million kW/yr with a profit of implementation of incineration
more than ¥3 million (US $0.36 million) per year for The characteristics of ChongqingÕs USW result in three
about 25 years. As mentioned above, these two sanitary main problems when considering disposal by incineration.
landfill sites will be designed, constructed and operated First, the high moisture content and low caloric value of
by the Environmental and Sanitary Protection Holding the USW result in unstable incineration. Second, an analy-
Groups. sis of USW also suggests that any energy benefits generated
by incineration do not pay off economically. Third, USW
4. Problems and perspectives with a relatively high moisture content has a tendency to
erode the incineration systems. As a result, landfills would
4.1. Problems be the most effective and efficient and, therefore, most
dominant method of disposal. But there is one major disad-
4.1.1. Pollution caused by simple landfill sites and unsuitable vantage to landfilling, even though they can meet the
site selection demands of MSW disposal standards, this method of dis-
As Chongqing develops economically and grows in pop- posal must utilize a large land area – land that is scarce in
ulation, the problems of urban solid waste management this populous city. This is the main reason why incineration
1060 H. Yuan et al. / Waste Management 26 (2006) 1052–1062

of solid waste has a promising future in Chongqing – it regarding the lack of land for additional landfills, poor
requires less land utilization. However, if incineration is quality waste for incineration (Huang et al., 2003) and
to be broadly adopted in the future, prevention of dioxins the low value of compost (Zhang and Li, 2000), this prob-
and fly ash pollution will be a particularly urgent problem lem is not likely to be solved easily.
and challenge for Chongqing as the areaÕs hilly topogra-
phy, low wind velocity, high frequency of static breeze 4.2. Opportunities and perspectives
and already existing air pollution issues are not conducive
to handling additional stressful factors on air quality. In the future, to meet the needs of an integrated solid
waste management system, the following aspects should
4.1.3. Lack of an efficient and suitable MSW collection be improved:
method in Chongqing
The low combustibility and caloric value of Chongq- 4.2.1. Perfecting the existing waste fees system
ingÕs urban solid waste is caused by the sorting that scav- Lack of financial support is an obstacle in the local
engers and reusable waste collectors do at the refuse waste collection system. The amount of funding allocated
disposal sites. The refuse in waste containers starts out for sanitation and environmental protection in Chongqing
in a mixed state with all types of solid waste combined is much lower when compared with other large Chinese cit-
together, but scavengers and reusable waste collectors ies; the average amount Chongqing spent on sanitation and
sort through to remove recyclable and reusable items. environmental protection per capita is only 8% of that of
After they are through, often most of the paper and Shanghai (Liu, 2003). In ChongqingÕs main districts, the
other combustibles have been removed leaving only the MSW fee per household is now ¥3/mo (US$0.36/mo)
non-combustibles. Therefore, on the one hand, waste (CMG, 2000), which is much lower than that in other big
scavengers and reusable waste collectors play an impor- cities of China. The waste fee levying system should be
tant role as an informal waste recovery system (Liu, improved so that the fees charged can provide adequate
2003), but on the other hand, they create a situation that financial support to the existing urban solid waste disposal
lowers the caloric value of solid waste and makes incin- facilities and finance programs to reduce the quantity of
eration a less viable solution for waste disposal in Chon- urban solid waste generated.
gqing. There are also some additional problems that
need to be solved. For example, rummaging through 4.2.2. MSW collection methods should be specialized
the solid waste has a negative impact on the health according to each districtÕs individual situations
and hygiene of these scavengers and waste collectors. Because different districts may have different economic
In addition, the waste collectors are quite selective about situations, efficient and effective separation and collection
which types of waste they will take away; waste with of solid waste materials may require different methodolo-
economic value like paper and beer bottles will be sorted gies. The investigation shows that citizens are highly aware
and removed but other types of waste such as batteries of the usefulness of sorting the refuse; they understand that
are left behind, causing harm to the environment. Unfor- sorting their refuse before collection will reduce the amount
tunately, these informal waste recovery systems make it of solid waste produced and facilitate the recycling of mate-
harder to regulate and implement a more efficient and rials as well as reduce the overall cost of waste disposal. In
standardize waste treatment system. This kind of addition, sorting out the food waste from MSW and con-
informal waste recovery system occurs in other cities of verting this organic refuse into compost will reduce the
China (Chung and Poon, 1998b) as well as other devel- overall moisture content of the urban solid waste. Should
oping countries in Asia such as in India (Sudhir et al., incineration become an option for MSW disposal, MSW
1996). with a lower moisture content than currently will increase
the efficiency and cost effectiveness of the facility.
4.1.4. Lack of the standby MSW disposal capacity
As the ChongqingÕs population grows, so too will the 4.2.3. Improving the waste collection systems
amount of USW. It has been forecast that by the year Currently, Chongqing has an informal waste sorting,
2020 (Lin, 2003), the total amount of urban solid waste collection and recovery system made up of scavengers
generated will be 4664.4 t/d. Also the 1996–2000 Environ- and patrolling reusable waste collectors. The local govern-
mental Sanitary Protection Plan (CMAC, 1997) states that ment should consider organizing and managing this infor-
by the end of 2010, the rate of MSW disposal will be 100% mal system so that it can be better regulated and
in the main districts of Chongqing Municipality. Although formalized into a waste collection plan overseen by the
the present disposal capacity of MSW has met the demand, municipal institutions. Not only would this improve the
there is not enough standby capacity. In Kitakyushu city, efficiency of urban solid waste collection and recovery,
Japan, there is a standby capacity of 34% more than the but it would also provide job opportunities for these infor-
current amount of urban solid waste generated. The lack mal waste collectors as well as better protect their health
of standby disposal capacity will be a problem in the and welfare. More detailed research is needed on manage-
future, and unfortunately because of current challenges ment methods.
H.Yuan et al. / Waste Management 26 (2006) 1052–1062 1061

4.2.4. Implementing an integrated disposal method improving the existing waste fees system; (2) specialized
Based on current household-sorted waste, when food separation and collection methods based on each districtÕs
refuse, recyclables and reusable items are sorted out from individual needs; (3) improving waste collection systems;
the main bulk of MSW, the moisture content will decrease (4) implementing an integrated disposal method.
and the net caloric value of the remaining MSW will
increase. This change would be an advantage when inciner- Acknowledgments
ating waste. The ash generated after incineration could be
disposed at the landfill site. This integrated final disposal The investigation in 2002 was done in collaboration with
method would reduce the quantity of the urban solid waste, Kitakyushu Environmental Cooperation Center. We also
thereby relieving the pressure of the Changshengqiao would like to extend our appreciation to Sharlene Yang
Sanitary Landfill and Heishizi Sanitary Landfill sites, and for English editing and revision. We also would like to
Tongxing Incineration Plant. Nevertheless, in the future, thank several anonymous reviewers for their inspiring
Chongqing should enlarge its waste disposal capacity and constructive comments of the paper.
according to the amount of urban solid waste growth to
avoid the actual disposal capacity decline under some acci-
dental circumstances. References

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