The country's top environmental watchdog yesterday called on the
coastal city of Xiamen to rethink its plan to allow the
construction of a chemical plant and said an environmental impact
assessment of the city's urban planning is on the cards.
It also called for the suspension of a proposed waste
incinerator plant in Beijing's northern district of Haidian.
Pan Yue, deputy director of the State Environmental Protection
Administration, said in a notice on the administration's website
that he hopes the local government in Xiamen can consult its
existing plan for the chemical plant and do its utmost to change
the current juxtaposition of industrial sites and residential
He said a comprehensive evaluation of the city's urban planning
will start soon to see if the chemical project meets the required
environmental safety standards.
The project to build a plant to make paraxylene (PX), a compound
used in polyester and fabrics, was expected to generate annual
revenue of 80 billion yuan (US$10.46 billion), but its planned
location - 16 km from the city center - has sparked pollution fears
among the public.
The city has suspended construction of the plant, but the public
has demanded the government scrap the project altogether, something
Xiamen's mayor said he would consider depending on the outcome of
the environmental impact study.
Also in the notice, Pan said the planned location for an
incinerator plant in northern Beijing is too close to both the
city's drinking water source and residential communities.
In addition, due to its position, strong northerly winds could
easily blow the plant's emissions southward onto other parts of the
Although the Beijing environmental protection bureau approved
the plant's environmental impact report in January, local residents
appealed to the municipal government to withdraw the approval.
Pan said in consideration of the project's serious nature, the
Beijing government should assemble more experts to assess the
project's potential environmental impact. He said the government
should also heed public opinion.
The deputy director said many pollution problems relating to
industrial and urban projects stemmed from inadequate environmental
impact assessments during the planning phase.
(China Daily June 8, 2007)