Her fingers are bent from 20 years of collecting cardboard from Hong Kong’s streets, but 67-years-old Au Fung-lan says she has no desire to give up the grueling work.
Au is one of around 2,900 collectors, mainly women over the age of 60, whose frail figures are a familiar sight, guiding trolleys loaded with cardboard through a city clogged with traffic and people.
They sell discarded packing boxes for a few dollars to recycling depots, which in turn ship it abroad. However, as China started phasing out taking solid wastes, Au’s livelihood is under threat.
By working from pre-dawn until dusk, she earns up to HK$300 daily. However, collectors have no legal recognition or employment rights. Many are doing it to supplement their pensions and savings in a city where the wealth gap is growing.
If those businesses were forced to close there could be a "waste paper crisis" in Hong Kong as rubbish piles up, eventually ending up in landfill sites.
clog：動詞，塞滿、堵塞。例句：The pipes were clogged with dust and hair.（水管被毛髮和灰塵堵住了。）
depot：名詞，倉庫、儲藏點。例句：Abundant waste keep pouring in the recycling depots.（大量廢棄物不斷被送往各回收站。）
supplement：動詞，增補。例句：She held several posts to supplement her income.（她身兼多職以增加收入。）