GUANGZHOU: Residents of the Panyu district in this southern city are strongly opposed to the construction of a planned garbage incinerator in their neighborhood, according to the results of a questionnaire released yesterday.
Some 92 percent of respondents said they believed the project would seriously harm their health and the natural environment nearby, and more than 97 percent opposed the construction of the incinerator.
The survey was conducted by the Guangdong provincial social research and study center following a public petition signed last week by many residents opposing the construction.
The questionnaire polled 1,550 residents, mostly living one to eight km away from the planned construction site in Huijiang village of the Panyu district.
Local authorities and experts have insisted that the project's pollution would be minimized.
"They are concerned most about pollutants, such as dioxins generated when burning garbage, which can cause cancers," said Feng Shengping, a researcher who led the distribution of the questionnaire.
"Residents don't believe pollution will be minimized," said Feng, citing increasing negative impacts of another garbage treatment project in the city.
More residents have developed cancers after the Likeng garbage incinerator in Baiyun district began operation several years ago, Feng said.
The survey results have been submitted to Guangzhou Mayor Zhang Guangning to get local government officials' attention before they make a decision on the project, Feng said.
"How can operators ensure less pollution after this project is finished? Government authorities will also find it hard to supervise operators," said Luo Ming, a resident in Riverside community, which is about five km away from the planned site.
The project will, without doubt, pose threats to the natural environment since many scenic sites are located near the planned project, Luo said.
Meanwhile, 84 percent of respondents said the project would fail to pass environmental assessments, the report said.
Officials from the Panyu district urban landscape authority issued a notice last week to collect public opinions and organize a team of experts to conduct the environmental assessments.
"But the environmental assessment will likely be passed since experts involved are selected by government authorities," said Liang Wenwen, a resident in Hailong community.
"It will be a simple procedure to pass the assessment if the government really wanted to launch the project," Liang said.
Panyu, which has a population of 2.5 million, produced about 600,000 tons of garbage last year, or 1,640 tons per day, a year-on-year increase of 12 percent, according to the district's website.
The district currently has five small landfill sites and garbage incinerators, with a daily capacity of 600 tons.
The new garbage incinerator will take the place of two small landfills at Huijiang village of Panyu, and will be able to handle 2,000 tons of trash daily, sources said.
"The land lease of two small landfill sites is expired," a village head surnamed Liang said.
Local authorities had not yet started the procedures to claim land from local villagers for the project, Liang told China Daily yesterday.
(China Daily 11/05/2009 page4)