But a garbage dump for 3 million people?

Real Estate Agent with John L. Scott Real Estate

On an interesting note I was in China in the Fall of '05. I headed up a trade delegation from the State of Oregon with some Environmental Business folks and an aspiring politician running for State Legislature. The EPA of sorts catered to our group as we were there to team up with an environmental company being run by my father. His connections allowed us to be pampered by the Chinese Government and we were there to help them solve some of their environmental challenges.

Those challenges make ours in the US look like a mole mound next to a volcano. Speaking of volcanoes, while we were visiting with Mayors and Vice Mayors and Governors at an international Trade Show in Xiamen, Fugian in South Eastern China we took an excursion a few hours north to the capitol city Fuzhou. This city had a population that equaled the entire State of Oregon. The EPA put us up in a billion dollar hotel with lavish everything, spent the night and the next morning we all jumped in vans and went to visit the local dump. Quite the contrast. It was about 40 minutes out of town and around 7000 feet above the city on top of a volcano. It seems some years prior an engineer came up with a seemingly brilliant idea to turn the vast volcano into a dump for this massive city's garbage. He even won some kind of award for this wonderful idea.

Well, the days of reckoning finally arrived. Not only had  the river below been completely polluted for years and unusable from the leaching of the garbage from the rains draining into the river far below, but the silly thing was nearly full. Our job was to figure out what to do and let them think it was their idea. So we did. Simply shut it down while building a transfer station with a complete recycling facility to handle the waste. Generate electricity for the city from some of the refuse...some one else must have won that award we sure didn't...let alone get paid. But now and again I stop and reflect.. "what if that thing ever erupted? Eeeuuu!"


Posted by

Dons SIgnature

Comments (14)

Chris Fisher
Your Virtual Assistant - Concord, CA

Wow, that's amazing.  It's amazing how short sighted we can be about things like this.  Great job.

Feb 15, 2008 04:27 AM
Tammy Stone
Prudential Preferred Realtors - Grand Rapids, MI
"Eco-Green" Agent in West Michigan
So many people think short term.  If we all thought of the long term consequences of our actions, the world would be further ahead.
Feb 15, 2008 04:29 AM
Don McCoy
John L. Scott Real Estate - Medford, OR
Southern Oregon EcoBroker for John L. Scott R E
Hi Chris Hi Tammy..thanks for the response...It was a monumental mind blower.
Feb 15, 2008 09:53 AM
Mary McGraw
GLREA - Rockford, MI
2015: Solar Energy Is Still A Simple Machine!

Hi Don - I will award you a gold star that was a long time coming for doing your part in cleaning up the environment. Good stewards of the earth are hard to find! Isn't it funny how simple some things are? A story like yours makes me knock myself on the side of the head and just say "wow". Interesting experience!

gold star

Feb 16, 2008 12:58 AM
Don McCoy
John L. Scott Real Estate - Medford, OR
Southern Oregon EcoBroker for John L. Scott R E
Hi Mary Thank you! That was the most thanks we received ever. It was an incredible experiance for the time spent...
Feb 16, 2008 12:35 PM
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info
Interesting story - I'm glad you were able to help them clean up some of their blunders.  I hope they continue with it.
Feb 16, 2008 12:37 PM
Mary McGraw
GLREA - Rockford, MI
2015: Solar Energy Is Still A Simple Machine!
Don - you are welcome! I feel sorry for the Olympians! Seems they still have a long way to go over there.
Feb 16, 2008 01:42 PM
Karen Cooper
Karen Cooper | Sr Mortgage Loan Originator ! NMLS # 223305 | First Federal Bank of Florida, Ocala, FL - The Villages, FL
Helping Homeowners w/Home Loans in 27 US States
Wow, Don! That is some experience. Thanks for sharing.
Feb 16, 2008 02:08 PM
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services
Very interesting -- what is happening with the environmental situation in China today?  From what we hear on the news, not much has transpired to deal with the environmental concerns. 
Feb 17, 2008 05:22 AM
Don McCoy
John L. Scott Real Estate - Medford, OR
Southern Oregon EcoBroker for John L. Scott R E

Hi Joan,

Each Province in China has had to adopt rules that follow the guidelines of the WTO (World Trade Organisation) that specifies environmentally friendly practices. It is a big deal. China has been striving to improve and much head way has been accomplished. However, with 1.3 billion people (we have the .3 in population now) there is an overwhelming amount of work to do. Clean up of Rivers, lakes, air quality, drinking water, garbage disposal are all huge challenges.

Feb 18, 2008 03:46 PM
Alex Mordas
EarthSTEPS - Tallahassee, FL
Green Building Consultant
Hi Don, It is great to see a fellow EcoBroker with this kind of international conservation experience. Glad to have you on board. I look forward to future posts.
Feb 26, 2008 12:35 AM
Bill Westel
Eco-Steward Realty - Asheville, NC

Hi Don:

I guess if the volcano ever erupted alot of earth pollution would be turned into air pollution.  I saw where China was going to try and adapt the Cradle to Cradle philosophy of William McDonough. Did you hear anything concerning this while you where there?

Feb 26, 2008 05:28 AM
Don McCoy
John L. Scott Real Estate - Medford, OR
Southern Oregon EcoBroker for John L. Scott R E

Alex:Thank you. I enjoy your articles as well.

Bill:I saw the WTO World Trade Organisations booth at the International Show in Xiamen where I was. It was very much about the need to show up in an environmentally responsible way. I really enjoy the insight and perspective of William McDonough.  I think I was there before he was getting as much attention as he is now as I did not hear of his influence at the time.

Feb 26, 2008 04:22 PM

I have often wondered why we didn't use active volcanoes as trash dump sites; thinking I had sumbled on to  a novel idea I decided to do a web search on it and found to my disappointment, someone else has not only thought of it but implemented it. I would think that the trash including toxins and plastics  would be incinerated to the point of  decomposition to their base elements, but I am not a chemical engineer. Would you please elaborate on this and exlpain if the river polution was due to the use of the volcannoe as a dump site.

Aug 27, 2008 02:48 AM