600 residents protest waste incinerator project

(China Daily)
Updated: 2010-05-18 07:21
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GUANGZHOU - About 600 residents of Dongguan in South China's Guangdong province on Sunday protested a planned garbage incinerator in their neighborhood, the latest grassroots initiative to target incinerator projects in the country.

The protestors, mainly women, children and the elderly from the city's Zhangmutou town, gathered at the square outside the town government office building for a "peaceful parade" on Sunday morning, according to the town government's press office.

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The residents from the town's Zhangyang, Shixin and Xuzhen communities appealed to the government to find a new site for the waste incinerator in order to protect the town's environment.

"No violence or injuries were reported in the parade, which was very peaceful," a town official, who only gave his surname as Cai, told China Daily on Monday.

"We don't know when the city government will begin the construction work, as the project is still going through expert evaluation," he said.

The residents also marched along the main roads of the town, causing traffic jams at several cross roads.

The protestors dispersed on Sunday afternoon after the town government chief and other officials pledged to report their petition to the city government, Guangzhou Daily reported on Monday.

About 100 residents of Luoma village in the nearby Qingxi town also gathered outside the village office on Sunday, the report said.

It was the latest and the second anti-incinerator protest in Dongguan this year, following the city government decision earlier this year to construct four waste incineration plants in the city.

One of the plants will be located between Zhangmutou town and Luoma village.

On March 28, hundreds of villagers and property owners protested the planned incinerator, while some protestors scuffled with security guards on the scene, the Southern Metropolis Daily reported.

"As far as I know, nearly all residents in the neighborhood oppose the construction of the plant, fearing that it would pose risks to our health," said Chen Yahui, a resident of Longteng Huayuan residential compound in Zhangyang community.

Many people have already moved out of town after hearing that the incinerator plant will be built there, she said.

As a real estate agent who has lived in the community for nine years, 29-year-old Chen said her agency has recently seen a decrease in the number of clients.

Until last year, Chen was renting out at least eight suites every month, but failed to rent out even one in the past month.

Chen is also considering moving away from the town.

Dongguan city government officials were not available for comment on Monday.

The protests were among many demonstrations by residents against potentially high-polluting garbage incineration projects, including a planned waste incinerator in Panyu district in Guangzhou, the provincial capital.

Nationwide, more than 30 cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Nanjing, experienced similar grassroots protests against waste incineration projects from 2008 to 2009, according to media reports.