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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Almanac: Chinese New Year

Air Date: Week of

This week we have facts about Chinese New Year. Before the start of every year, the streets of Taiwan are lined with more than lanterns and ribbons.


CURWOOD: It's Living on Earth. I'm Steve Curwood.

[MUSIC: Shan Wen Tong, "The Mountain Village Peddler", CHINA: SOUNDS OF OUR STOREIS (Ellipsis - 1998)]

CURWOOD: This week marks the start of the Chinese New Year. So, watch out for dancing dragons and firecrackers. And look out for piles of garbage, too.

NURU: Couches, refrigerators. You know, we have stoves. And then, you know, sometimes some electronics, TV's and computers.

CURWOOD: That's Mohammed Nuru. He's with the San Francisco Department of Public Works. And he says he braces for this holiday every year. That's because Chinese tradition says what happens during the holiday foretells the rest of the year. So, nobody puts garbage out for the first three days of the New Year. And that means New Year's Eve is a garbage collector's nightmare.

In Taipei last year the city picked up four times the normal amount of trash. This year Taipei officials are extending the pre-New Year's pickup schedule to seven days. And all those old refrigerators, washing machines, computers and TVs will go straight from the streets to a recycling facility. The program has already salvaged almost five thousand tons of metal, enough for ninety-one million beer cans. Happy New Year!

And to get off to a good start in the Year of the Horse, eat fish for long life, oranges for luck, and dates to get rich. And for this week, that's the Living on Earth Almanac.




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