Beijing Installs Giant Deodorant Guns to Battle Landfill Stench. Seriously.


Overloaded by trash, the city tries an unusual method to combat the smell. Next strategy? Perhaps recycling.

Article by Kathy Ehrich Dowd and image by Th145 via Wikimedia Commons. First published March 2010 at

Stinky landfills are a bit like stinky armpits – only a whole lot bigger. And what do we do when our armpits smell a bit rank? Put on some deodorant, of course. And it seems Beijing has come up with the same solution for their foul-smelling pits of garbage.

According to, the city is installing 100 giant deodorant guns at its Asuwei dump site, following smell complaints from local residents.

The high-pressure fragrance cannons reportedly spray gallons of an odor-fighting agent per minute, with a range of up to 20 feet. City officials will also cover the trash with plastic to help minimize the stench.

Although their smell-control efforts might work in the short-term, it doesn’t solve Beijing’s bigger issue: it can’t keep up with all the trash it produces. Local officials say the city of 17 million generates more than 18,000 tons of trash daily, 700 tons more than its current dumps are equipped to handle.

“All landfill and treatment sites in Beijing will be full in four years. That’s how long it takes to build a treatment plant. So we need to act right now to resolve the issue,” said Wang Weiping, a waste expert in the city government. “It’s necessary to restructure the current disposal system. We cannot rely on landfill anymore. It’s a waste of space.”

One reason for the trash problem is it seems Chinese citizens are not very good recyclers. Less than 4 percent of its trash is recycled, versus 35 percent in the UK and US. (Go us!)

So it seems those deodorant guns are simply a stop-gap measure. But perhaps all that stinky trash will motivate China to recycle a lot more. In other words, perhaps Red China will become Green China before we know it.

Editor’s note: Article by Kathy Ehrich Dowd and image by Th145 via Wikimedia Commons. Originally published by our friends at Tonic is a digital media company and news source dedicated to promoting the good that happens each day around the world. Tonic tells the stories of people and organizations who are working to make a difference, by inspiring good in themselves and others. Be sure to visit them and say hi, and follow Tonic on Twitter, too!