Public voices to be heard in assessments on incinerator project in S China city

11:21, November 24, 2009      

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The center for urban construction and administration of Guangzhou, capital city of southern China's Guangdong province, told Xinhua that questionnaire-based survey and hearing would be conducted to solicit public opinions on environmental assessments for an garbage incinerator project to be built in the city's Panyu district.

The announcement was a response of the city authorities to local residents' protest against the project.

China Daily reported that more than 1,000 residents in this southern metropolis raised a stink Monday over plans to build a massive garbage incinerator in the heart of the Pearl River Delta.

The protest outside a government office building was the latest salvo in a growing dispute between residents and local authorities' perceived hard line over the project.

The residents were fired up after hearing that the authorities would build the garbage incinerator once an "environmental assessment is approved".

The residents say they want input into the decision-making process.

The incinerator, which proponents want to build in Huijiang village of Panyu, in Guangzhou, will be capable of handling around 2,000 tons of garbage a day. Local authorities say such a facility is sorely needed.

The Guangzhou center for urban construction and administration received a petition from the protesters Monday.

"We are not satisfied with the way the authorities have dealt with us. So we all, voluntarily, moved to the government office building to grab their attention," Lu An, a local concerned about the health risks of the project, was quoted as saying by Tuesday's China Daily.

"Villagers near another garbage incinerator (in Baiyuan district of Guangzhou) confirmed more than 50 deaths from cancer after its operation," he said.

Government representatives insisted at a press conference on Sunday that no cancer cases had been reported among workers at the facility referred to by Lu.

Feng Shengping, a researcher with Guangdong provincial situation study and research center, said: "Not all garbage should be burned. As far as we know, nearly 70 percent of trash in urban areas should be recycled."

Local government officials told Xinhua that in the near future, the municipal government would work out rules on wastes recycling and reuse of recoverable resources.

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