In an absurd twist of fate and a rather distinct and unusual statement on the need to recycle, residents of Shanghai got the surprise of their life when earlier this month a major new bridge collapsed, revealing its components to be mostly rubbish and not concrete!
Spanning the Wusong River in central Shanghai, the river has represented an important shipping route since the 1930s, facilitating the transport of goods to the interior of China. The Suzhou River Road where the bridge is located has been designated as a protected heritage zone and has become the setting for Shanghai’s flourishing art scene.
Completed in 2009, the bridge replaced a much older one with a more modern design. It began to collapse after being in operation only a short period; just after Christmas, when cracks appeared in the structure. Some thought the ground might have become unstable or that it might have been the result of the inefficiency of the original construction company.
Subsequent inquiry revealed the latter to be the case. Styrofoam, bags of garbage, scrap wood and plastic waste were used as construction materials in the structure.
By using less concrete in the construction, results were completely counter- productive. Short-term savings were obliterated by the estimated costs of eliminating the rubbish and starting the construction all over again! This lack of foresight makes sense only if the sobriety of the construction company management was an issue (a fact which remains unknown).
Recycling has its place in our modern world, but this is ridiculous, not to mention extremely perilous if someone has the misfortune of enjoying the view of the river while standing underneath a girder weakened by Styrofoam and/or plastic!
What do YOU think about this?