Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

Picking at Their Butts in China

Posted by w_thames_the_d on October 28, 2010


China is an odd, odd place. Take the following as an example In China they litter, so instead of teaching people not to litter or fining those who do, they are paying people for the amount of cigarette butts they pick up. The official price is “($0.0075) for each cigarette butt they pick up from city streets.” Damn, that means you have to pick up, handle and save about 1.4 nasty disgusting used cigarettes just to earn one US penny, wtf??
But if you do like the old lady below, you can strike pay dirt, maybe do it full time. Lets see, she probably had her hands in 500 different ash trays, hunched over in the cold for a week, all in order to pick up the butts shown below. Imagine walking from spot to spot, bent at the waist while clutching these burnt out cancer sticks, and how much did she make?
(unofficial estimation— 50 butts on the floor, grand total 0.37U$, then in the bags, maybe a few thousand butts for a total of 18.75 U$…

Where cigarette butts mean money
An old woman counts the cigarette butts she collected, anticipating her reward, at a public hygiene office in Xianyang, Shaanxi province on Oct 18. [Wei Guangjing / for China Daily]

One Response to “Picking at Their Butts in China”

  1. I think now there needs to be a new hand-washing campaign against the spread of hepatitis…

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