Incineration Plants Suspended Due to Public Protests
Lujiashan incinerator, "world's largest" waste incinerator in the Mentougou district of Beijing, was up-and-running at full speed in a Beijing western suburb. Image: ASSOCIATED PRESS
Construction of several incineration plants has been suspended due to public protest, causing a mountain of household waste to be unprocessed.
A new waste incineration project, in Haiyan County, Zhejiang province, was announced to be cancelled this April in response to two days of civil disruption.
Residents voiced concerns about the potential health risks from emissions via online forums and through direct representations to the government. Some protesters even blocked roads and attacked and injured a number of police officers and government officials.
The problem isn't just confined to Haiyan, though. Several areas of the country, including Beijing and the provinces of Guangdong and Hainan, also have seen protests against new incineration plants, despite the ever-rising volume of waste as a result of urban expansion.
Data provided by the National Bureau of Statistics showed that 179 million metric tons of household waste was collected nationwide and statements released by the central government say the volume of waste is expected to grow at between 7 and 10 percent every year in large cities, such as Beijing.
Incineration is the most popular way to dispose household waste. According to government data, the number of incineration plants in China has risen from 104 in 2010 to 188 in 2014.
A survey conducted by the Power Generation Branch of the China Association of Circular Economy, an industry association in Beijing, estimated that the number of facilities has doubled in the past six years, reaching 225 by May.