The roles of grassroots local government in sustainable waste management in China

Shan Shan CHUNG*, Carlos Wing Hung Lo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Although half of the administrative units in China are said to have implemented their local Agenda 21, the promotion of sustainable communities is not pervasive. In this paper, we adopted a relatively untried mode of analysis and a socio-economic context to illustrate the potentials and failures of China's grassroots local government bodies in achieving sustainable waste management. Our study shows that, among the three main functions of sustainable waste management (ensuring environmental hygiene, provision of recycling logistics and changing the consumption pattern of the local community) for local governments, grassroots local government bodies in mainland China are only able to do the minimum, i.e. ensuring environmental hygiene and handling complaints. One of the reasons for the failure is that, despite the emphasis on capacity building in China's Agenda 21, the reality is that no action is taken to empower grassroots local government. Despite the high profile accorded by the Chinese central government to motivating local governments to formulate their own Agenda 21, local sustainability and waste management performance have little relevance to the appraisal systems of these government agents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-144
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2007

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

User-Defined Keywords

  • Grassroots local government
  • People's republic of china
  • Residents' committee
  • Sustainable waste management


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