BEIJING (Reuters Life!) - Beijing is waging war against the stench of its growing rubbish tips, deploying more than 100 cannons to blast deodorants into the capital’s landfills as warmer weather causes more garbage to rot.
The deodorant cannons were invented by employees at the Gao’antun Garbage Landfill Plant, in Beijing’s suburbs, after local officials apologized for the foul smells coming from the garbage dump and promised to mitigate the problem.
Other devices such as odor-eating sheets were also brought in, along with a machine that extracts the foul-smelling gases and uses them to generate electricity.
“By employing these measures, and at the same time we have other measures we carry out to control the bad smell, we reduced the pollution at this landfill to the lowest level,” said Zhang Quanhong, section chief of the Beijing Chaoyang District Garbage Disposal Center at the Gao’antun Landfill.
Gao’antun landfill is just one of many sites struggling to process the mountains of rubbish produced by China’s heaving capital.
Beijing’s 17.55 million residents daily produce 18,400 metric tons of household garbage, 90 percent of which is dumped in the 13 landfills dispersed around the municipality, according to state-run news agency Xinhua.
The cannons, officially termed “high pressure long-range deodorant sprays,” blast a liquid created from plant extract onto waste arriving at the site.
The biological compound neutralizes the smell, its creators say, and the fragrance-covered rubbish is then buried under odor eating covering sheets and more deodorant is sprayed on top.
But not everyone is impressed.
Residents of a housing compound near the garbage dump say they have yet to see a result.
“Whenever the bad smell comes we are all coughing. At night we all wake up coughing. Even when you are sleeping soundly, you can wake up coughing. Everyone opens their windows in the summer and there is that smell,” said resident Geng Haiou, scrunching her nose at the memory.
Waste management experts have also expressed doubts over the deodorant scheme.
“The cannons are stench-neutralizing tools that should be used under special circumstances. But we cannot keep blasting all day long. We do not have that many canons,” said Nie Yongfeng, Professor of Environmental and Engineering Sciences at Tsinghua University.
Reporting by Reuters Television, editing by Miral Fahmy