China / Society

Work on trash plant to resume

By Wang Xiaodong (China Daily) Updated: 2014-12-27 08:09

Construction of a garbage incineration plant in Beijing that was suspended five years ago due to opposition by nearby residents with environmental worries will resume next year, with the Beijing municipal government promising strict pollution control measures.

The incineration plant, in north Beijing's Changping district, is designed to handle 3,000 metric tons of domestic trash daily, according to an environmental evaluation report released on the website of the Changping district government.

The whole garbage-processing project will occupy 136 hectares, cost more than 3.4 billion yuan ($547 million) and is expected to be completed for trial operation in 32 months, according to the report, which was posted online for public comment between Dec 15 and Friday.

The project is expected to handle 15 percent of all trash produced in Beijing, according to Lin Jinwen, an environmental official in Beijing, Beijing Youth Daily reported.

The government will maintain strict supervision of the project, and information about the discharge of pollutants will be made public, he said.

When it was first announced in 2009 that the plant - with a daily capacity of 1,200 tons - would be built in Asuwei village, Changping, it aroused protests from nearby residents.

"We were worried the plant would cause serious pollution in the area," said Huang Yishan, one of the protesters. Huang, who previously was a lawyer, said he and many other protesters have villas near the site.

Huang said they worried that burning different types of trash would pose a danger to the surrounding environment and residents' health.

He said this time he had fewer complaints as the government had become more transparent, and all information about the project is open to the public, so he is confident that environmental pollution caused by the project will be effectively controlled.

Chen Liwen, a researcher at the Environmental Institute for Everyone, an environmental protection NGO, said she is worried about air polluting potential of the project.

"It is not clear what specific measures will be taken by the plant to control emissions," she said. "The air pollution in Beijing is serious enough."

According to a plan by the Beijing municipal government, 44 trash disposal projects, including 10 incineration plants, will be built before the end of the coming year. But many of these projects have been suspended or postponed due to objections from residents, according to media reports.

Chen said trash must be classified before it is burned to reduce toxic pollutants released from incineration, but most garbage in Beijing is still thrown away without being classified.

"It requires not only education but also sophisticated management to realize classification of garbage," she said. "For example, authorities should introduce more classification facilities to residential areas to encourage people to classify garbage rather than just distributing more trash bags to residents."

Zhao Xinying contributed to this story

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