DISCOVERING the proper classification for each piece of household waste before disposal and dodging fines of of up to 50,000 yuan [$7,200] has become-

As simple as snapping a photo on your smartphone or talking to it thanks to the efforts of a group of young programmers and user interface designers.

You have photos of LOCAL residents using QR code cards to open different bins for their garbage at a waste collection point.

Liu Yiyi, a member of the studio and a full-time art director at an advertising agency, said the app's initial success was largely a result of its simplistic and eye-pleasing design and its practical speech recognition function.

''Typing in the names can sometimes be a complex undertaking,'' he said.

though the app was intended to cater to all age groups, Liu said speech recognition facilitated use by young children , the elderly and people with visual disabilities groups facing the greatest challenges in adapting to the changes.

The Guide to Garbage Sorting service, available on WeChat and Alipay, allows people to type in names and use image and speech recognition to classify waste.

The programme was developed and released in early June by Shanghai-based programmers Wang Xu and Zhou Li.

Wang, 26, said it was processing an average of 60,000 searches a day on Alipay and 9,000 on WeChat.

''I wanted to help sort ambiguous items as fast as possible, such as the shell of a melon seed,'' he said. ''Image recognition can help when you are unable to name the object straight away.''

Similar services are springing up as more cities adopt garbage-sorting rules, but their creators say they will disappear in time.

Liu, whose app has the maxim ''you will no longer need me someday'' on its welcome page, said it was designed to help people through the transition period and reduce their reliance on such service thereafter.

''As Chinese become accustomed to the rules, people are destined to use the apps less often,'' he said, adding that incorporating the basics of waste classification in classes at school will also contribute to the process.

Wang said he has already noticed change's in people's behaviour.

''My colleagues have become used to cleaning single-use food containers before throwing them out,'' he said.

The World Students Society thanks, Dawn.


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