From Wasteyard to Garden

CNC reporting from Shanxi
Added On June 6, 2013

Wednesday marks World Environment Day - and balancing rapid industrial expansion with environmental preservation is a major challenge for China.

CNC takes you to north China's Shanxi Province, to see how a wasteyard has become a garden.

This rubbish site near one of the biggest parks in Taiyuan, capital of Shanxi province, has been piling up for more than 10 years.

It includes construction waste and household garbage.

SOUNDBITE (CHINESE) ZHANG ZHIQING, local resident
"It's so dirty here. When some of my relatives and friends visit me, they always wonder whether this place is fit for living."

In recent years, the community has made efforts to remove small household garbage items.

But construction wastes are too heavy to be dealt with.

Rather than wait for an answer, Liang Dongming decided to clear the garbage by himself.

With a spade, hoe and plain trolley, Liang began this ambitious project after he retired in 2012.

SOUNDBITE (CHINESE) LIANG DONGMING, local resident
"Some garbage can be weighed up to one tonne, I had to resort to forklifts. But as forklifts are not permitted to run in daytime, I rented a specialized garbage truck for a few days."

Despite having to pay all the costs, Liang devoted himself to the task.

He got up at 6 every the morning, and worked all day long.

It took him half a month to remove all the garbage.

Then he began to smooth the bumpy land.

SOUNDBITE (CHINESE) LIANG DONGMING, local resident
"I begin from the south. First, I carried away the stones, and then brought the soil to the other part."

After three months, the garbage was all cleared out, and the land became smooth enough.

Liang had a further plan for this land - a garden.

SOUNDBITE (CHINESE) LIANG DONGMING, local resident
"I had little knowledge about flowers and plants. Then I went to the parks to consult professionals."

To conserve water and soil, Liang also sowed the grass on the land.

SOUNDBITE (CHINESE) LIANG DONGMING, local resident
"The hoe can be used to extirpate weed. These hoes are all worn out because I didn't use them in a correct way in the beginning."

Now, Liang has become a professional gardener.

He's invested about 16,310 U.S. dollars so far.

Moved by Liang's devotion to his garden, many neighbors come to help him deal with the weeds or water the plants.

SOUNDBITE (CHINESE) LI CHAOHUI, local resident
"We help Liang in our spare time. He is doing a great thing for all of us."

Now, the garden is full of flowers, fruit trees and vegetables.

And according to Liang, the planted tomatoes, chilies, lettuce, garlic and caraway will be sent to his neighbors for free.