Between Western imports and domestic consumption, trash landfills in several cities are now quickly running out of space [zh]. Trash-to-energy incineration plants have been in use for several years, and while now banned from urban areas, continue however to be a cause of concern for urban residential communities.
Southern Metropolis Daily journalist Liu Tianzhao has been paying the issue attention recently on Twitter after her work was harmonized [zh] pre-publication, noting that regulations passed last year require new incineration plants built over the next three years [zh] to maintain a buffer safety zone of no less than 300 meters and, in one Bullogger post, quotes [zh] two Chinese specialists on the risks and specific challenges faced in seeking to reduce the release of dioxins while incinerating Chinese trash.
She also notes [zh] that 20 trash-to-energy incinerators will be built in coastal Fujian province alone over the next three years, each with a capacity to reduce harmful emissions to that of 70% of international standards.
This tweet she directed at social critic and active Twitter user Lian Yue, who lives in Fujian. He in turn notes that various departments offer incentives to encourage the building of trash incinerator plants—a sign, Lian Yue morbidly points out, that bodies such as the National Development and Reform Commission and Ministry of Environmental Protection aren't just incapable of curbing pollution, but in fact benefit from the failure to do so.
Earlier this year, the government in Panyu district in southern China's Guangzhou announced the planned construction of a trash incineration plant which has given rise to much local controversy. As Yangcheng Evening News blogger Mo Ke writes, the plant will likely already be up and operating by this time next year:
The relevant authorities have also stated that “this will absolutely not be a polluting project”, but even so, this is not enough to ease or dispel the high degree of anxiety the tens of thousands of residents from the surrounding area have that this project will create pollution and pose a threat to their health and livelihood.
With the Panyu incinerator located just a few kilometers from several of the largest residential communities in Guangzhou, as NetEase reports, tens of thousands of homeowners in the area now oppose the plant's imminent launch; comments on that report included:
The problem is the manner in which it's done
Why does the public always have to be kept in the dark?
2. If a liar cheats you 1000 times then announces will henceforth speak the truth
Who will believe him?
We've all heard this story: during a meal, a customer finds a fly in the food and calls the boss over. To show there's no problem, the boss snaps it up and eats it.
The shareholders all live in Panyu anyway, so put them up in the surrounding buildings; this'll solve the problem of worker benefits, and will stimulate the local real estate market, as well as putting people at ease…one stone, many birds.
And can you guess who the incineration plant belongs to?
Panyu is full of uninhabited land, do they really need to build a trash incineration plant right in the middle of the heavily developed part of north Panyu? The only reason they're building it there is because shipping costs will be low! If you look at a map you can see that right in the area are residences, the new train station, Panyu's business and tourism district, the district that in about eight years is supposed to be as developed as central Tianhe is now!
Just think about it, would it make sense to build a trash incineration plant right beside bustling Beijing Road?
And they're gonna move it in five years?
Isn't this a waste of taxpayers’ money?
[listing all the large residential communities in the vicinity] 真不知是番禺的那些专家选的地址.环保所的局长一定不在附近居住.既然最先选择了开发这一地区(广州新客站)为什么又要去破坏这一地方呢(垃圾焚烧厂)…………..请各位领导再仔细考虑考虑.既生俞,何生亮呀!
Since they chose this spot early on for development with the new Guangzhou train and bus station, why now are they going to ruin it with a trash incineration plant?……….please, leaders, think about this very, very carefully.
We never win!
“What shall we do with the garbage?” asks China Dialogue author Huo Weiya in a piece on Beijing's own trash troubles. “Burning them is not the end of the story.”