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Planting the seeds of a green future

By Hou Liqiang | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2021-04-06 09:44
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Hou Liqiang

It was a sunny weekend. Just waking up from his afternoon nap, my son remained sleepy, his eyes half closed.

"What are we going to do?" I asked him. Rubbing his eyes, he muttered, "Collect dog poop."

That's what he got from a plan my wife and I had announced a day earlier, on his third birthday. As part of what we dubbed our "Beautiful Home Plan", we would collect the poop scattered on bare land in my residential block, bury it with fertilizer I had made from kitchen waste and sow flower seeds in the mixture.

My son still has no idea about what will happen to the seeds we sowed.

Accompanied by adults, many children were playing when we started our task, so we had a good audience. However, we didn't expect that three children would quickly join us after learning about our plan, with adults looking on all the time.

What an exciting scene it was! Two of the boys worked as scouts, searching around and telling us where the poop was.

I followed my son and the other boy closely, collecting all the "mines" they located.

It didn't take long before our wooden box was full. The boys wanted to contribute when we dug the hole, even though we only had one big iron spade for the work.

We used it in shifts, while my son made his own contribution with his toy shovel, overjoyed to help.

For me, the most exciting moment came when I opened my compost tumbler and poured in the organic fertilizer I had produced.

I made a grand introduction to the boys. "It's my harvest after about six months. I made it from kitchen waste," I told them proudly.

The idea of launching the beautiful home plan dates back a long time, after I was stunned by the kitchen waste piling up in the trash bins in my residential community.

More than 1 meter in height, they are usually full after no more than half a day. The kitchen waste not only tarnishes the bins and surrounding area but also other garbage, rendering it unsuitable for recycling.

Moreover, this waste has to be transported long distances for disposal, inevitably resulting in atmospheric pollutants and emissions of carbon dioxide.

Having grown up in rural China, I am keenly aware that the waste that ends up in urban bins has a different fate in villages.

Much of it is what my mother collects for our chickens, pigs, cat and dog. Their poop is used on the land that provides our food.

A question had been perplexing me: what could I do to reduce the waste, at least in my home? I soon found a solution on the internet.

The boys were just too excited to stop. After burying the poop and fertilizer and sowing the seeds, they competed to grab the bucket to get water. They even built a small fence around the planted area with tree branches.

Later, they didn't want to leave and kept asking when we would do it again.

Two of them said they would write an account of the day.

I don't know how much waste I will be able to save, nor if the seeds we planted will sprout. But I hope I have buried seeds in the children's hearts that will inspire their own green actions in the future.

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