Chinese village suffering from pollution caused by plastic waste processing becomes beautiful again

Photo taken on May 21, 2019, shows Gengche township, Suqian, east China’s Jiangsu province, a place that has enjoyed blue skies and green land since its industrial transformation. (Photo by Zhang Lianhua/People’s Daily Online)

With residences nestled among green trees and a water platform located at the end of an alameda, Liuxu village in Gengche township, Sucheng district, Suqian, east China’s Jiangsu province, has completely shaken off its old nickname of “plastic village” and taken on a brand new beautiful look that even surprises people living in the village.


Gengche township had been one of the largest plastic waste processing bases in eastern China before 2015, when countless pieces of plastic waste were transported to Liuxu village to be processed into recycled plastic particles. The old development pattern with poor economic results had caused severe environmental pollution for Liuxu village.


“Our houses were surrounded by garbage, water in the rivers and ponds smelled, and people driving through our village were so sick of the stink that they wouldn’t even open their car windows,” recalled a local villager named Wang Zhenhua.


At the beginning of 2016, the local governments decided to prohibit plastic waste processing industry and banned all 59 relevant trading yards from operation. Meanwhile, 200,000 tons of plastic scrap was dug out of rivers, ponds, as well as irrigation canals and ditches in Liuxu village by excavators.


The village then reclaimed more than 2,600 mu (about 173.33 hectares) of farmland, improved 500 spots of rivers, ponds, canals, and ditches, and planted 720,000 seedlings, gradually restoring the pleasant scene of clear water and green banks.


Since the problems troubling people’s living environment were resolved, Liuxu village started to tackle employment for the residents.


After coping with waste and old plastic materials, Gengche township embarked on a new path of ecological transformation and green development based on its industrial foundation and development practice.


Besides making great efforts to boost Internet entrepreneurship and tap into such industries as logistics and express delivery services, featured agriculture, and household supplies manufacturing, authorities of Gengche township also established an eco-agricultural demonstration park near Liuxu village.


Thanks to the park, many people in Liuxu village have found jobs near their home. In 2019, the demonstration park witnessed an annual turnover of 1.3 billion yuan (about $190.32 million), among which 900 million yuan was achieved through e-commerce. Last year, over 300 local people saw their income increase by a total of more than 9 million yuan because of the park.


Liuxu village is planning to integrate its advantages of ecological resources and featured agriculture into tourism and attract visitors through projects covering such facilities and activities as B&Bs, exhibition hall that shows the history of Liuxu village, and farming experience.


Besides, it is actively launching events including succulent plants festival and cultural shows that are popular among local people, aiming to shift the focus of the local tourism from sightseeing to leisure.


This year, Liuxu village is expected to see its tourism revenue reach 20 million yuan.


“The village is now like a beautiful park and local residents are also willing to take a walk around the village in their free time,” Wang said. He is very satisfied with his new life in the village, which is now surrounded by flowing water and immersed in a simple and unsophisticated atmosphere with specially designed bridges and pavilions.


To make the village a livable place with a great ecological environment, Liuxu village has made overall planning for improvement in such key aspects as water, roads, industries, and public services and completed the construction of sewer network and sewage treatment plant, according to Ding Yilu, secretary of the Communist Party of China branch of Liuxu village.

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