Let’s go discover the south of China!

From the 8 to the 15 of December 2016, Tsinghua University organized a field trip for EnvIM students in the South of China.

by Marie Bonhomme

Shanghai, a Chinese showcase

Saturday 9th of December

After a short flight, we arrive in the Shanghai Chemical Industrial Park (SCIP) in the south of this city. This zone contains the equivalent of all the petro-chemical industries between Lyon and Marseille and its size represents a third of the area of Paris. This park is an example of industrial circular economy, clean production, and also development of environmental projects such as an ecological garden and the wetland in the middle of the industries to improve water retreatment. Close to the park we can find residential areas and all urban basic services (hotels, post offices, schools etc.), which are, according to the park managers, “human-oriented”. Their objective is to be cost effective and environmentally efficient. 

At first, we are welcomed at the local Sino French water company, a specific joint venture for this park, created between Suez, NWS Holdings Limited and SCIP, dealing with industrial water treatment and depollution for the whole Industrial Park. Today the treated water is rejected in the sea because it is still too expensive to reuse it in the park. A whole Process Quality Monitoring system is used, respecting high ecological requirements that are, according to them, far beyond the EU regulation. 

Then, we visit the biggest incinerator in China. SITA, through a joint venture with the Shanghai Chemical Industry Park (SCIP), has designed, buildt and now operates two sets of large-scale hazardous industrial waste incineration processing plant with an annual processing capacity of 60,000 tons per year. We are all surprised by this gigantic infrastructure! It is the reference plant for China both in terms of size (the highest throughput capacity to date) and technology. They treat hazardous waste and follow the latest EU standards. Incinerating waste, they recover energy and sell it to the companies nearby. The site Ddirector explains us also their Corporate Social Responsibility process. For instance, they have partnerships with local University to form students and imply a waste “acceptance and reception procedure” to avoid any accidents.

At night, we all have dinner in a restaurant from West China, the province of Xingjiang, delicious dishes with flavors midway between the Middle East and China!

Sunday 10th of December

Our second morning in Shanghai is dedicated to Air Pollution Control. Thus, we visited the Shanghai Environmental Monitoring Center, since 2003 they do inventory of ten pollutants (CO2, NOx, CO, VOC, NH3, TSP, PM10, PM2.5, BC and OC) thanks to a network of censors. They also measure the emissions from vessels (SO2 by example) and the VOC emitted by plants. They face many challenges like the real-time measurement of the emissions from transports and the emissions of the ten industrial parks in Shanghai.

The Atmosphere Monitoring System in Shanghai provides decision supports, forecasts and an emergency response system. They produce 3 reports/forecast per day, information being shared through TV, phone, phone calls etc. They use a picture to inform easily the public, the color of the little girl hair and her face change depending the level of pollution, from green to red.

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The logo used to inform the pollution about the air pollution

EnvIM 2016 in the streets of Shanghai

In the afternoon, we have free time to discover Shanghai. After strolling in the French concession, we walked along the bund where we had a marvelous view of Pudong.

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The French concession

Then, we had the chance to go at the top of the Shanghai Financial Center (“le décapsuleur”) for free and to watch the city at night. Shanghai is very different from Beijing and the provinces of Xinghaï and Gansu we had the chance to visit. It is far more modern, developed, rich, full of skyscrapers and attrack foreigners a lot.

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The view from the Shanghai Financial Center

Chongqing (82 400 km2), the monster city:

Sunday 11th of December

As soon as we arrived, we are all stunned by this futuristic landscape. Skyscrapers are here kings. Their outlines sprawl on the numerous hills of this city and appear more and more in the mist. Austria: it is the size of that city. As the result of urban sprawling Chongqing is nowadays a megalopole with more than 30 million inhabitants, but the Chinese administration takes into account rural areas in the entire municipality definition. This city-monster was surprisingly created in the 1990s in the south-west by the Chinese state to balance with economic powers of Shanghaï and Beijing. In a sense, it represents the impressive development of Middle Kingdom.

At night, we ate in a one of the numerous “hot pot” restaurant of the city, a typical Chinese dish, a boiled soup with many sauces and condiments. Then, you fire yourself different pieces of meat and vegetables. It is delicious! Our Chinese classmates were very happy as hot pot is  their favorite dish!

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EnvIM students in the KTV

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Ruli and Ye Zi opening a bottle of Soya Milk

The Hot Pot we ate

A view of Chongquing  

After this diner, we went to a KTV to do Karaoke. Are we becoming real Chinese students? It seems we do really like it!

Monday 12th of December

In the morning, we visited the Chongqing Sino French water company, a joint venture between Chongqing Water Group Co. Ltd and the Sino French Water Dev. Co. Ltd. This water treatment plant produces thanks to its four pumps 940 000 m3 of water per day. We understand the challenges of such a production of water in this industrial and densely populated area.

In the afternoon, we go to Chengdu by train, an occasion to discover the rural landscapes of this region, a mix between mountains and mist. 

Chengdu, the wealthy Capital of the Sichuan:

Tuesday 13th of December

For lunch, we are invited by the CEO of Haitan Group. Before the meal, he and its team presents us his company, a local waste water company with 18 branches in all China. They offer a very complete range of processes covering the majority of water issues and are involved in the setting of national standards. He insisted on their CSR policy (donations for schools’ construction in the countryside …) and the respect of the environment. According to them, they lead “one belt one road” to export.

For lunch, we discover a typical Chinese business lunch, with round tables and where large variety of dishes are proposed. We will all remember their communist speeches he made to encourage us to work and succeed…. and probably also the fact that they proposed a toast many times!

In the afternoon, we went to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. This non-profit organization was created in 1987 with six pandas. Now, they are around 80 and more than 100 babies were born. This center aims at helping the survival of the threatened species of the Giant Panda. This place, in the haze, is really surprising. I was expecting to see sad animals like in many zoos, but here animals are happy and seems to be well treated! We understand at this point how this specie is important to China!

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Pandas in the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding

For dinner, the CEO of Haitan Group invited us to a show. We enjoyed many Chinese dishes, and at the meantime, a show was proposed (with dances and face-changing (“biànliǎn“) for instance). It was a nice way to end this trip all together.

After a good night, we now head back to our dorm in Tsinghua University. Tomorrow, we will pack and go back to France with a lot of sadness. Our wonderful and enriching semester in Tsinghua University is over. This field trip illustrated all our courses during this first semester.

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