The Xiamen government in Fujain Province may relocate a halted
US$1.41-billion chemical plant project as almost all speakers at
two public hearings vented anger at the idea to restart the project
in the coastal city.
The paraxylene plant may be relocated to the Gulei Peninsula in
Zhangzhou, Fujian. Zhangzhou has a population of more than 4.5
million, Beijing News reported today.
The decision was said to have been reached one day after
Xiamen's government held two public hearings to seek opinions on
the project that was suspended earlier this year following
persistent public protests.
A total of 107 people selected by lottery to represent the
citizens of Xiamen attended the hearings on Thursday and
Friday last week. Of them, 91 opposed the project, 15 voiced
their support and one left without speaking.
About 80 lawmakers and political advisers also attended – 15
addressed the forum and 14 spoke against the government's plan to
build the plant.
But a senior official of Fujian cast doubt on the possible
relocation, only saying that the paraxylene project was still being
discussed, the report said.
However, Zhu Qing, director of Fujian's Information Office, did
not deny the project might be moved to Zhangzhou, the report
Construction on the paraxylene plant in Xiamen's Haicang
District was halted in June due to a public outcry over pollution
and health issues.
The southern part of Haicang District has been set up into a
chemical zone, but the city plans to expand the zone into a
residential area, which spurred residents in the eastern city to
spread short messages calling for a boycott of the project as
paraxylene is a dangerous material.
Paraxylene is a petrochemical used to make purified terephthalic
acid, a raw material for producing polyester film, packaging resin
But it is also carcinogenic if exposed to humans. Health experts
say it can cause fetus abnormalities.
The project, launched in Xiamen last year, was said to have the
potential to bring the city 80-billion-yuan in industrial output
annually upon completion.
The relocation of the project can go ahead only after it is
approved by the National Development and Reform Commission, the
country's top economic planning body, the report added.
(Shanghai Daily December 19, 2007)