By Michael Evans
Workers at Beijing’s Palace Museum have taken advantage of an early spring thaw to pull out trash from the frozen moat surrounding the Forbidden City.
Speaking to the Global Times, authorities overseeing the palace complex emphasized the dangers of keeping the moat trash-free:
“[T]hese days, the ice condition prevents us from cleaning up,” he said, noting that it is too thin to bear a person’s weight, and too thick for boating.
“We have to use long wooden sticks we make ourselves to grab the garbage, but it’s not easy,” he said.
“We also have staff patrolling the area to ensure the moat neighboring our park is clean,” said Zheng.
China’s landmarks have long fought against the toll taken by the hordes of tourists who pass through during peak traveling seasons. Last year’s National Day holiday saw 7.9 tons of trash collected from Tiananmen Square on October 1, while workers in Shanghai picked up an average of 5 tons a day off the Bund, the Global Times reported.
Last month, a photo went viral online showing a brass urn in the Forbidden City with the message “Liang Qiqi came to Beijing” scrawled across it, prompting a wave of criticism but protests of helplessness by authorities.
As for the trash, the Palace Museum says it will add more garbage cans and post signs around the moat to discourage littering – a fail-proof plan absolutely guaranteed to solve the problem.