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Residents Fed Up With ‘Toxic’ Centre

Raymond Li – SCMP – Updated on Sep 01, 2008

Hundreds of angry residents who live near a trash processing centre in Beijing’s Chaoyang district took to the streets on Friday to protest against toxic emissions, a resident said yesterday.

The protest came as residents failed to have their grievances heard after being exposed to foul air and toxic emissions for several years.

The rubbish processing centre, including a landfill site and incinerator, has been running since 2002, but local government gave building approval for many residential estates nearby, particularly affordable housing projects for low-income families.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been exposed to suspected carcinogenic emissions from the incinerator and foul air. One village is 600 metres from the site.

Zhang Xueyou, a resident from the Wan Xiang Xin Tian estate, said the smell was particularly bad on rainy or overcast days.

Protestors wearing face masks stopped several trucks carrying trash into the centre as police watched. Mr Zhang, who joined the demonstration, said the protest had been peaceful and he was not aware of anyone being detained by police. “We were simply there to express our disapproval of the management of the centre as they have the know-how to tackle the problem,” he said.

Residents were disappointed as authorities, including the director of district, who met residents during the protest, had failed to outline any action they would take against the pollution, he said.

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