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An evaluation of the social dimensions in public participation in rural domestic waste source-separated collection in Guilin, China

Ma, Jing, Hipel, KeithW., Hanson, MarkL.
Environmental monitoring and assessment 2018 v.190 no.1 pp. 35
case studies, citizen participation, committees, decision making, education, guidelines, income, information sources, issues and policy, laws and regulations, public opinion, recycling, villages, wastes, willingness to pay, China
A comprehensive evaluation of public participation in rural domestic waste (RDW) source-separated collection in China was carried out within a social-dimension framework, specifically in terms of public perception, awareness, attitude, and willingness to pay for RDW management. The evaluation was based on a case study conducted in Guilin, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China, which is a representative of most inland areas of the country with a GDP around the national average. It was found that unlike urban residents, rural residents maintained a high rate of recycling, but in a spontaneous manner; they paid more attention to issues closely related to their daily lives, but less attention to those at the general level; their awareness of RDW source-separated collection was low and different age groups showed significantly different preferences regarding the sources of knowledge acquirement. Among potential information sources, village committees played a very important role in knowledge dissemination; for the respondents’ pro-environmental attitudes, the influencing factor of “lack of legislation/policy” was considered to be significant; mandatory charges for waste collection and disposal had a high rate of acceptance among rural residents; and high monthly incomes had a positive correlation with both public pro-environmental attitudes and public willingness to pay for extra charges levied by RDW management. These observations imply that, for decision-makers in the short term, implementing mandatory RDW source-separated collection programs with enforced guidelines and economic compensation is more effective, while in the long run, promoting pro-environmental education to rural residents is more important.