Shenzhen plans world's largest incinerator
Choi Chi-yuk and Cheung Chi-fai
Shenzhen plans to build the 'world's largest' rubbish incinerator, capable of processing 5,000 tonnes a day, in an effort to cope with the almost five million tonnes of domestic waste produced by the city each year.
Lu Ruifeng, the city's executive vice-mayor, told a group of Guangdong provincial People's Congress delegates on Tuesday that because its landfills could no longer cope with the growing trash pile produced by its 13 million residents, the city was planning to build the world's largest incinerator, the Guangzhou-based Nanfang Daily reported yesterday.
Lu said public consultations had been held on site selection. He admitted that where to put the incinerator was one of the most challenging problems for the project.
The Nanfang Daily said Shenzhen planned to build three waste incinerators by 2015 to burn 80 per cent of the city's rubbish. It said two of the plants would be in Laohukeng and Nanshan district, both in the west of the city, with the third to be built at an unspecified site in the city's east.
A report in the Guangzhou Daily said Shenzhen had three waste incineration plants in the pipeline, capable of processing a total of 6,300 tonnes of rubbish a day.
Lu said that in order to meet environmental protection standards for the incinerator's emissions - smell, liquid, ash residue and airborne ash particles - it would make use of mechanical grate technology to improve combustion. It would also adopt advanced management and stick to the highest global air quality standards, the Nanfang Daily reported.
It said Shenzhen was dealing with 4.8 million tonnes of trash a year.
Michelle Au Wing-tze, senior environmental affairs officer at Friends of the Earth (Hong Kong), said Shenzhen was taking a wrong path in waste management.
'Guangzhou has just started to ask people to separate and recycle waste, but Shenzhen is heading in the opposite direction,' she said.
'It is definitely not an image boost to tell others the incinerator will be the world's largest.'
Au said that if the incinerator had any adverse environmental impacts, like dioxin pollution, it would not just hit Shenzhen and Hong Kong but could spread far beyond the region.
Last year, the daily per capita waste disposal rate in Shenzhen was 1.26kg, compared to 1.28kg in Hong Kong and 0.77kg in Guangzhou.
Hong Kong is also planning to build a large incinerator, with a capacity of 3,000 tonnes a day, on a reclaimed site at Shek Kwu Chau, south of Lantau Island. Environment officials have not ruled out the need to build an extra incinerator to cope with mounting waste.
Waste incineration projects are a sensitive issue in Guangdong, with proposals for new plants often met by fierce local demonstrations, forcing plans to be put on hold. In January, more than 1,000 residents from two districts of Guangzhou staged separate protests against incinerator projects near their neighbourhoods.
Growing environmental awareness among mainlanders as living standards have improved in recent years have fuelled more protests over environmental concerns.
The number of incinerators throughout China, according to Southern Weekend, a Guangzhou-based newspaper