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What do Russians do about recycling?

The problem of total trash utilization is not fully resolved in developed countries worldwide.

In Japan, for instance, people do not pay for recycling of trash that is burnt in expensive ovens. Apparently, Japanese mentality is such that if they were to be forced to pay for utilization of domestic wastes, they would start dumping trash everywhere.

Things are different in Germany. Not only do Germans pay, but they also carefully sort their trash and dump it in specially provided containers accordingly. One will never see Germans throwing something on the streets.

Austrians are the most disciplined people as far as recycling is concerned. Residents of this country always recycle. In the US almost every household is equipped with special device that processes domestic waste and flushes it down the drain.

Recycling in Russia has never really been an issue. Trash was simply dumped into specially designated areas outside the city. Nowadays, the procedure has not changed much. Although today such dumping grounds are called ordnance yards and trash is often being referred to as hard domestic waste.

Majority of such “trash cemeteries” no longer meet sanitation and epidemiological requirements. Almost all of them pose dangerous threat to our ecology: mounts of trash evolve carbon monoxide, methane and other toxins. More so, pathogenic bacteria and disease-transmitting rodents only worsen the situation. Other countries learned to turn trash into real money. In Russia however, recycling has a long way to go before it will ever be turned into business.

There are only four recycling facilities and combustion plants in Russia. However, according to State Sanitary Control, those combustion plants are practically all dead. The thing is, they use foreign technologies that do not work in our country. More often the problem is solved in the following way: trash simply gets dumped in the nearest forest or even better, by some freeway.

Nearly 7 billion tons! Of domestic waste is accumulated in Russia annually; 6 million tons—in Moscow's region (up to 350kg of trash per person per year).

Today scientists argue about various methods of recycling in Russia. They even developed a project, according to which energy that is generated during recycling can be used by electric power stations.

As for me, I think that the main thing here is to teach Russians simple ethics concerning recycling.

Interesting fact, when people of Medieval Europe have been ignoring bathing for years and their streets have been covered with slops, The Great Novgorod of Russia could boast of its squeaky clean paved streets and people attending baths daily.

Vera Khanina

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