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October 29th, 2012:

Environmental protests in China on dramatic rise, expert says

Submitted by john.kennedy on Oct 29th 2012, 12:47pm


John Kennedy


The number of major environmental protests in China grew by 120 per cent from 2010 to 2011, according to Yang Chaofei, vice-chairman of the Chinese Society for Environmental Sciences.

Speaking on Friday at a lecture organised by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on the social impact of environmental problems, attended [2] by finance news magazine Caijing, Yang revealed that the number of environmental “mass incidents” has grown an average 29 per cent annually, from 1996 to 2011.

According to Yang, the Ministry of Environmental Protection has handled a total of 927 incidents since 2005, 72 of which were classified as major incidents. He said that incidents involving heavy metal pollution and dangerous chemicals have been on the rise since 2010.

The government stopped releasing most protest statistics several years ago after the annual number of “mass incidents” surpassed 100,000. The latest figure most often cited is from Tsinghua University sociology professor Sun Liping, who estimates there were180,000 protests and riots [3] in 2010.

The Caijing report references recent information from Xinhua and the Beijing News, the latter of which responded to Yang’s claim that only 1 per cent of environmental disputes are resolved in court with an editorial calling for an overhaul of existing environmental law.

Key problems, writes Beijing News, include abuse of protection from environmental lawsuits, and the lack of provisions allowing for lawsuits which seek compensation for environmental damage.

Protests throughout the weekend [4] in Ningbo, Zhejiang province, were successful in stopping plans to expand a local plant producing the toxic chemical paraxylene, or PX. Protests defeated PX plants in Xiamen and Dalian in 2007 and 2011, respectively.

An infographic published by economic news magazine Caixin last week shows there are a total of thirteen PX plants [5] in China, the majority spread along the coastal region.

Articles on previous environmental protests:

Dalian plant to relocate after thousands protest [6]

Factory axed as Shifang heeds protesters’ calls [7]

City scraps waste pipeline after thousands protest [8]

Arrests made in factory protest [9]

Ningbo petrochemical factory protesters win pledge to halt project [10]


Ningbo PX Project

Environmental Protests

More on this:

Ningbo factory protesters return despite official pledge [11]

Ningbo petrochemical factory protesters win pledge to halt project [10]

Source URL (retrieved on Oct 30th 2012, 5:06pm):


Maple Ridge News – Cache Creek mayor wants toxic incinerator ash gone

Cache Creek mayor wants toxic incinerator ash gone


By Maple Ridge News
Published: October 26, 2012 05:00 PM
Updated: October 26, 2012 05:425 PM

Cache Creek Mayor John Ranta is demanding the removal of nearly 2,000 tonnes of hazardous waste ash that he says was illegally sent to the regional landfill his village hosts from Metro Vancouver’s Burnaby incinerator.

Fly ash from the waste-to-energy plant’s scrubbers had higher than allowed levels of leachable cadmium in July and August but was shipped to the Cache Creek landfill because incinerator operator Covanta was slow to report the test results.

“An inappropriate substance has been deposited in there,” Ranta said. “Whoever is responsible should have the material removed.”

Metro officials have said they are working with the environment ministry to determine whether the deposited fly ash must be removed.

Some of the tested samples contained more than double the concentration of cadmium B.C. allows for dumping in municipal landfills.

Ranta said the landfill isn’t licensed to accept hazardous waste and it was “simply wrong” for it to be sent there, putting landfill workers and the local environment at risk.

Cache Creek residents don’t take such matters lightly, Ranta said, noting they blockaded the Trans Canada Highway to keep millions of dead chickens from being dumped there during the avian flu outbreak of 2004.

Covanta has apologized for the reporting error, saying it was not intentional.

Fraser Valley Regional District politicians say the incident underscores why they don’t trust Metro’s drive to build a new waste-to-energy plant.

“Ultimately this is Metro Vancouver’s responsibility,” FVRD vice-chair Patricia Ross said. “They let this slip through the cracks. This does not give us any confidence whatsoever.”

She noted the incident might never have been discovered or made public had landfill operator Wastech not realized in late September that the usual test results had stopped arriving and demanded them.

When Covanta did hand over the results they did not flag the failed readings, according to a Wastech memo to Metro staff obtained by Black Press.

“The company (Covanta) made no mention of the irregularity in the test results and made no mention of concern with the hazardous waste material sent to the Cache Creek landfill,” the Wastech memo said.

It also reveals that it was Wastech’s decision, not Metro’s, to suspend all deliveries of fly ash to the landfill on Sept. 26 over safety concerns.

Metro has instead been sending incinerator ash to a Hinton, Alberta landfill, after staging some of it initially at the Annacis Island sewage treatment plant.

Subsequent loads of fly ash have tested within limits and Covanta is working to determine whether the exceedances were due to a testing error or the problems with the method used to stabilize the cadmium in the ash.

Cadmium is a carcinogenic metal found in batteries and some plastics.

The Burnaby incinerator burns 285,000 tonnes of garbage per year.

Covanta is one of the expected bidders to build a new waste-fired plant, expected to handle 370,000 tonnes per year.

Find this article at:

Sweden to Import Garbage as Trash Supplies Run Dry

As other nations throughout the world struggle to cut the amount of waste piling up in their landfills and marring the landscape, Sweden is facing an entirely different sort of challenge — they’ve run out of trash. Now they’re forced to import some more.

Swedes, you see, are among the planet’s least wasteful people, on average recycling around 96 percent of the garbage they produce. And with what’s left, they’ve found a way to use, having implemented a world-class waste-to-energy incineration program capable of providing electricity sufficient to power hundreds of thousands of homes.

But their hyper-efficiency has led to a unique problem: a trash shortage that could threaten the energy production capacity.

So, what is Sweden to do? Well, according to Swedish officials, the notoriously tidy nation will begin importing garbage from their neighbor Norway — about 800,000 tons of it annually, in fact, to fulfill their energy needs.

Perhaps the best part of all is that, in solving their problem, Swedes actually stand to profit from this endeavor; the Norwegians are going to pay them to take their waste, proving quite succinctly that one nation’s trash can truly be another’s treasure trove.

Paying for clean air can never be too expensive


Submitted by admin on Oct 29th 2012, 12:00am

Comment›Insight & Opinion

SCMP Editorial

A government study has shown that the city achieved its overall clean-air targets in 2010, cutting emission levels of four pollutants by up to 60 per cent compared with 1997. But this ignores the real problem – roadside air pollution – which just keeps getting worse.

Since the study was released, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has named the environment as one of the deep-rooted problems he will address with an interventionist approach to governing, such as phasing out old diesel-run vehicles. And environment secretary Wong Kam-sing has said the government will consider tough measures, such as not renewing licences for diesel commercial vehicles more than 15 years old, which are among the chief roadside-pollution culprits.

We trust this is a taste of things to come. Road transport accounted for 286,000 tonnes of sulphur dioxide pollution in 2010, up 15,000 tonnes in one year alone. When other countries are preparing to introduce Euro VI emission standards starting next year, Hong Kong still has 60,000 Euro I and II emission standard vehicles of 12 to 18 years old on its roads.

Wong said what air-quality experts have been saying for years – that if Hong Kong is to tackle bad air seriously, it needs policies to specifically deal with roadside pollution.

That said, the operators of polluting diesel vehicles are not breaking current transport and environmental rules, since their vehicles are licensed under them. One operator has warned, reasonably enough, that some will be prepared to take legal action to defend their right to continue to earn their livelihoods.

Clearly, there will need to be effective incentives for drivers to upgrade willingly to acceptable standards. Existing subsidies have proven to be inadequate in value and coverage of the city’s 120,000 diesel vehicles.

The government is right to be prudent with such handouts. But in this case it can be confident that the public would see cleaner roadside air – the stuff that we breathe – as good value for a lot of money.


Air Pollution


roadside pollution

old diesel vehicles

Source URL (retrieved on Oct 29th 2012, 4:19am):