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Full of ideas, NPC deputy is flush with excitement

By Yang Wanli | China Daily | Updated: 2018-03-08 07:59

With her long, black hair and fair skin that hardly shows wrinkles, and a sweet smile, Wang Runmei, 43, appears to be only in her early 30s.

But unlike some good-looking women who will spend more time on makeup and dressing, Wang rarely has a chance to dress up. As a sewer cleaner from North China's Shanxi province, Wang's daily clothes are a loose, blue work suit, an orange raincoat and a pair of rain boots.

"Sometimes I do admire other women who can wear makeup and high-heel shoes every day," she said. "But when we see those clean streets without being polluted by sewage, the strong feeling of pride and sense of achievement is a privilege that not everyone can enjoy."

For the past 24 years, Wang has worked as a member of the only female sewer cleaner team in Taiyuan, capital of Shanxi. Wang and more than 100 of her colleagues are responsible for dredging the sewers of more than 800 streets and alleyways in Taiyuan. The number of sewers she has cleaned has hit tens of thousands.

On Jan 31, Wang was elected as a deputy to the 13th National People's Congress, her second time receiving the honor.

This year, she came to Beijing with a suggestion to promote trash classification more strictly to prevent domestic waste, especially kitchen waste, from mixing into city sewer systems.

She recalled the most unforgettable work experience she's had - a rainstorm in July 2016 that was the heaviest in 50 years.

"For more than 24 hours, we were knee-deep in dark water cleaning pipes that were blocked mostly by kitchen waste and plastic bags," she said. "Most people don't know that the underground pipelines need to collect water from flooded roads during the rainy season.

"Many small restaurants just dumped kitchen waste into sewage outlets. Such an embarrassing situation can be seen in many cities."

Although a regulation on underground pipeline management was released in 2016, Wang said that public awareness of the regulation is poor and punishments are not strong enough.

"It's urgent for the government to release regulations or laws on trash classification, which can tackle the root of many problems, including pipeline blockage, and determines that kitchen waste must be sent to garbage incinerator," she said.

Besides raising public awareness, she emphasized that an effective supervision procedure should be established to ensure implementation of the regulation.

Wang also said lots of cities have encountered serious drainage problems because underground construction has lagged behind aboveground building.

"With comparatively small diameters, the old pipelines drain rainwater very slowly. Tree roots growing in some pipelines are also a problem, as they block the pipelines. Some lines are located at unsuitable positions," she said. "When storms happen, it's hard for these old pipelines to drain the stormwater."

Sun Ruisheng contributed to this story.

(China Daily 03/08/2018 page6)

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