LUOYANG -- The authorities in a central China city have set a bounty on dead
flies in a bid to clean up their image and promote public hygiene.
But critics have swatted down the move, questioning the benefits of paying
0.5 yuan (seven US cents) per insect turned in at the Xigong district office of
Luoyang city, Henan Province.
Xigong District paid more than 1,000 yuan (US$125) for about 2,000 dead flies
on July 1, the day it launched the bounty, with the aim to encourage cleanliness
in residential areas.
"I and colleagues believe it's the best way to push residents to do more for
their living environment," said Hu Guisheng, the office chief, adding it had
proved effective with the district's 390,000 residents.
The payment scheme is the first of its kind in Luoyang, a medium-sized city
of 1.55 million people, which is striving to earn the title of "state-level
The "State Hygienic City Standard", issued in 2005, has ten criteria for the
award, including the prevention and treatment of disease-transmitting lifeforms,
which requires hygienic cities to effectively control pests like rats,
mosquitoes, flies and blackbeetles.
The Xigong District office has set up cash desks with signs urging everyone
to "participate in the campaign against mosquitoes and flies" at the entrances
to six residential compounds. The office staff have been busy in counting dead
flies and giving out cash.
A passerby surnamed Ge was attracted by the red board at a compound. "I
couldn't believe anyone was willing to buy such disgusting things," said Ge, who
admitted his compound seemed to have fewer flies since the campaign was
"I support the move," said Ge.
However, not everyone agreed. A shopkeeper criticized the campaign, calling
it an attention-seeking gimmick.
"It is a typical act of paying for an image, in this case the
state-designated hygienic city title," said the shopkeeper who would not give
The bounty has sparked an on-line debate. An Internet user named
"Jiejiaguitian" said that although the office had good intentions, the action
itself had made the district look like a laughing stock.
"The key point is the government should encourage residents to clean up the
environment so that no flies can live there, instead of spending money on dead
flies," wrote "Jiejiaguitian".
Hu maintained the district was working for the common good: "It is meant to
draw attention, but what's wrong with that? The money is being spent properly."
However, he would not reveal how his colleagues would dispose of the 2,000
dead flies, which were stored in the district office health department