According to Chinese media Zaobao, the topic “Xinjiang Duku Highway Turns into Garbage Highway” was trending on Weibo’s hot search on July 24. According to the Sichuan Observation Report, garbage is seen scattering along the way on Duku Highway in Xinjiang. Food bags and plastic bottles, among other things, lie on the highway and roadside. 

According to Ctrip data, from July 5 to July 12, the number of summer Xinjiang tour orders rose by 30% from the previous week, while the number of hotel orders in Xinjiang increased by 70%. The Xinjiang tour ranks first among all regions in the nation, with a ticket cost of 1,610 yuan (about 240 dollars).

Known as “the most beautiful highway in the country” the Duku Highway is an ideal road for many self-driving tours in Xinjiang. The highway connects well-known scenic spots such as Nalati, Bayinbulak Swan Lake, and Tianshan Grand Canyon.

However, the surge of tourists has also increased the amount of garbage, which poses hazards to the surrounding environment. The trash volume was so large that one tourist had to say, “it’s impossible to pick them up [at all].”

According to Jiemian News, on July 25, 2021, He Jiaolong, deputy director of the Xinjiang Ili Prefecture Bureau of Culture and Tourism, said due to the large amount of garbage on the Duku Highway, many workers spent 20 hours a day picking up all of these. 

They could not recruit new cleaners for the Duku Highway, although the monthly salary offered was 5,000 yuan (about 740 dollars). They then had to call on tourists’ awareness to protect Xinjiang’s natural environment.

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