Challenge Brings Environmental Benefits to Cummins Communities
The scene should have been picturesque: A stream running through a suburban village near Beijing, China, located not far from two national parks and reservoirs. Except it was anything but idyllic.
A growing population meant many private sewage pipelines discharged waste into the stream. For the 25 million people touched by the local watershed, that meant the increased possibility of waterborne diseases. The sewage disposal also meant that surface water became blocked and soil erosion was prevalent, endangering residents’ homes if a flood came.
Cummins employees from the Beijing Foton Cummins Engine Co., Ltd (BFCEC) recognized the importance of this stream that bisects Shangzhuang, and used their technical skills and engagement to make a lasting impact in water quality and access.
“The project not only improved our environment, but most importantly, after participating in various project activities, villagers gradually realized each of them has the responsibility to protect the environment and has the capacity to do something by themselves and with their families to make a change,” said Liansheng XU, the Secretary General of Shangzhuang village.
The Shangzhuang village project was one of the top submissions honored in Cummins’ 2016 Environmental Challenge, a global initiative that encourages employees to tackle environmental issues in their communities.
Cummins employees did just that in Shangzhuang, working to address the community needs they identified. They helped design and build a 210-meter dike to strengthen flood protection, while also educating 1,300 residents about safe water practices.
Employees also cleared 500 kilograms of waste from the stream. To ensure the project’s sustainability, employees successfully encouraged the government to install sewage pipes and a sewage treatment plant downstream. They then launched a zero-waste campaign in the village to improve waste management, reduce sewage dumping and drive behavior-change among residents.
“When I saw leaders and over 100 volunteers from Beijing Foton Cummins Engine Co., Ltd come to our village and clear garbage that had been dumped in the river way for a long time, I felt shameful of myself,” said one villager in Shangzhuang. “As a resident and owner of this village, I realized that I should protect our living environment from myself. I decided not to dump garbage in the river way or other parts of the village. Instead I shall collect the garbage and put it in the trash bin.”
As a result of this change, water quality increased dramatically and the community became a safer and more pleasant place to live.
“Our village became cleaner by clearing away the garbage, so the villagers are enjoying healthier, hygienic living conditions,” added Liansheng XU, the village official. “On behalf of all villagers, I sincerely appreciate the efforts made by Beijing Foton Cummins Engine Co., and we will continuously support and contribute to watershed protection and pollution treatment in the future.”
All around the world, Cummins’ Community Involvement Teams engaged in similar ways to make the communities where they live and work cleaner, healthier and safer. The results were dramatic. 2016 was the Environmental Challenge’s eighth year, engaging 17,400 employees from 23 countries. Eighty-seven projects were completed in 2016, with many building upon the success of previous years.
Although each Environmental Challenge project had specific strengths, 19 were determined to be the most impactful, and were declared global winners. Each global winner will receive $10,000 to donate to a community partner of its choice. Five additional projects were awarded $5,000 each, also to be donated to a community partner. In the past, prize money has been used to scale projects and further increase impact.