• Updated : 2020.3.25 수 17:05
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Waste Sorting Required to Make a ‘Green’ Campus
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승인 2019.11.15  16:59:06
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    Chonnam National University (CNU) has organized various programs related to becoming a green campus, aiming to raise awareness among its members about the importance of a green environment. Despite of the university’s commitment to make its campus more eco-friendly, improper waste management and practices are preventing it from achieving green campus status. The Chonnam Tribune checked the waste separation facilities and system of the university and students’ waste sorting behavior.


The University Should Improve Facilities
    We can easily see trash separation facilities are not equipped properly at CNU. Trash separation facilities also vary depending on where they are installed. Some buildings including Truth Hall (Jinli building) have sufficient and proper trash bins divided into plastic, paper, can/bottle and general waste. However, many college buildings have no such facilities for waste segregation. Even the newly-established Education Convergence Center has only two parts, general waste and recyclables. The Student Union 1 building also has big blue plastic bins that are usually used for collecting general waste and cans/bottles. In the case of the College of Natural Science, the buildings that belong to each college have different kinds of trash bins. The staff member at the college explained that CNU has no particular rules for recycling bins and waste separation so each building’s waste collection facilities are different from each other. It is difficult to sort waste into the correct category as many trash bins are not clearly labeled in and outside the buildings on campus.
    The abovementioned facilities are the main causes of the problem that students cannot separate their trash properly on campus. Han You-jeong (Sophomore, Dept. of English Language and Literature) said, “I was so confused whenever I threw away my paper trash in the College of Humanities 3 building. It has only recycling bins without illustrating which items are recyclables. There is no other way to put the paper into the bin other than to include it with other plastic waste.” Some students commented that they try to put their garbage in the right place when they can, but they probably cannot do it because the facilities are not convenient to separate the materials properly, and if waste bins were well equipped in every building, the problem of waste segregation and disposal would be better. CNU has to make practical measures to solve the problem because it has no consistent regulations and guidelines to manage general waste and recyclables. There is a clear need to improve waste facilities and the management system at the university.

▲ Waste separation bins located on the second floor of the Jinli building

Students Have to Change Their Behavior
    The problem of students not sorting waste properly also contributes to improper waste separation and disposal on campus. There are some places where garbage is dumped on the roads even though rubbish bins are near there. Na Ji-min (Freshman, Faculty of Interdisciplinary Studies) said, “Whenever I pass by the Main Library and go to Bongji, I often see trash cans full of various types of waste and lots of cigarette butts scattered on the road near the library.” In the case of the Library Annex in which ticket machines are used to reserve a seat in the reading rooms, some students just throw their tickets away right under the machines even though a trash can is right next to the machines. Such a garbage problem is very common especially during the examination period. There is a similar problem in some buildings including Jinli building and Residence Hall 8 building in which waste bins for each category – paper, can/bottle, plastic, and general waste – are not working because many students throw their trash into any bins for general waste or recyclables without sorting them properly.
    From the student’s perspective on this matter, facility-related factors make students not separate their waste because the facilities are not convenient to do it properly when rushing to get to class or other work. It seems that they do not realize the importance of waste sorting practices that influence the environment of the university. In any case, however, students need to try to sort waste properly and to have the mindset to follow public manners and guidelines to segregate general waste and recyclables in our daily lives. One of the cleaning workers commented that they often have a tough time managing unsorted waste dumped into the trash bins, especially, bulky beverage plastic cups with drink or ice cubes remaining in them. She added that their waste cleanup and students’ waste sorting behavior are both important in managing on-campus waste, as the process of waste disposal begins at the individual level of the university members.

Realizing Green Campus Together
    The University Administration has operated various kinds of campaign activities such as hosting a film screening series and a slogan competition. It appears that CNU’s waste-related facilities are inadequate and its members do not realize the seriousness of the problem of not sorting their waste properly. As a result, sanitation workers in each building have to separate recyclable items from trash. Well-equipped garbage bins and proper guidelines to separate rubbish could prevent the sanitation workers from sorting mixed garbage into different categories.
    According to the administration of the College of Humanities, it is hard to distinguish every sort of recycling item because, except for some kinds of materials, most recyclables are regarded as general waste in the school. Consequently, CNU should urgently put into place some efficient measures like introducing a practical regulation for waste sorting and recycling on campus. Its members including students also should try to improve their perception and separate their garbage correctly on the individual level. They are basic steps towards a green campus. The first winner of the Green Campus slogan contest mentioned above is “#Green Campus Together, #Green Future Together”. All of the university members are responsible for building a green future at CNU, as the slogan said.

By Jo Ye-rin, Tribune Reporter

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