New protests over garbage plant

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Residents in the Guangzhou's Huadu district are opposing the construction of a planned garbage incinerator following the temporary suspension of another major similar project in Panyu district.

About 100 residents protested at the Huadu district government office buildings on Saturday, demanding suspension of the incinerator project, which is planned in Fenshui village of Shiling township.

Construction of another major garbage incinerator in the city's southern Panyu district has been temporarily delayed due to protests from the public, local authorities said.

"The Panyu project has been stopped. Why did the government still plan to build another one in the north?" asked Wang Huiming, who lives in the Country Garden residential community, about 5 km away from the planned site.

"We, as those living in Panyu, are very concerned about health and environment risks following construction of the incinerator project," Wang said.

The Huadu project, with an investment of up to 770 million yuan ($112.8 million) and a capacity of handling 1,500 tons of garbage a day, is currently under environmental assessment, according to official sources with the Huadu urban landscape planning authority.

The assessment will be made public later this month, according to Xu Sheli, an expert involved in the environmental assessment.

"The garbage treatment project is very sensitive. We are conducting a very careful assessment," Xu said.

The Huadu district government in September issued a public notice announcing construction of the incinerator and has teamed up with Guangzhou-based Guangri Group for its construction and operation.

In another development, the garbage incinerator project in Panyu will not restart until the end of 2012 after a thorough discussion between government authorities, environmental experts and the public, said Tan Yinghua, Party secretary of Panyu district.

"From now on, we will start from the beginning for garbage treatment plans," said Tan, adding the district will, instead, launch another new overall plan for garbage treatment.

"We've stopped the site selection process for the garbage incinerator," Tan told village representatives last week.

Local government officials planned to build an incinerator, with a handling capacity of 2,000 tons a day, at a former landfill site in Huijiang village of Dashi township of Panyu.

But the project aroused a huge protest from the public, with hundreds of local residents protesting at Guangzhou government office buildings last month, demanding suspension of the plant due to environmental and health concerns.

"Following the public protest, we have realized the handling of garbage is of crucial importance to people's life and environment," Tan said.

A debate about the project among the public that will last six months was launched last Thursday, Tan said.

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