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China Daily: Five injured in plant explosion (Jan 2010)

by Qin Quanlin, reporting for China Daily:

GUANGZHOU – Five people were seriously injured when a water-cooling pipeline cracked at the city’s major garbage treatment plant yesterday, local authorities said.

Those who have been protesting the building of more garbage incinerator plants said the accident gives them even stronger convictions that the facilities are not safe. Meanwhile, plant officials still maintain the incinerators are safe and eco-friendly.

A large amount of boiled water and steam leaked from the pipeline after the accident, causing the injuries, according to a statement from the Guangzhou urban planning and administrative committee.

The five were immediately sent to a nearby hospital for treatment, said Li Tinggui, the committee’s director, adding all were in stable condition.

Initial investigations indicated that the accident was caused by a sudden burst of the No 1 water-cooling pipeline at the controversial Likeng garbage incinerator, which was put into operation in 2005.

“I saw a huge stream of mushroom-shaped smoke and heard a terrific noise following the burst,” said a villager who lives near the plant.

Other facilities at the incinerator, located in Baiyun district of Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, ran smoothly after the accident, according to the government release.

“We will repair or replace the pipeline as soon as possible to ensure its normal operation,” Li said.

Following the accident, local authorities stopped the operation of the plant.

Francois Guyon, general manager of Veolia Environmental Services, the France-based operator of the Likeng project, said the accident had nothing to do with technology and facilities.

“This garbage incinerator has been operating very well since 2005. It was designed as an environmental-friendly project,” he said.

The general manager was not in Guangzhou yesterday, but he told China Daily in a telephone interview that the accident also had no relation to the freezing weather as the city witnessed a sharp drop in temperature.

Following the accident, netizens said the local government should more strictly supervise the garbage treatment project to ensure that it runs smoothly.

“We don’t trust the so-called state-of-the-art facilities for garbage incinerators,” said a netizen at the city’s popular online forum of

“No one can ensure the incinerator’s safety in operation, let alone the great damage it poses to people’s health and the environment,” the netizen said.

At the end of last year, local authorities suspended construction of another planned large garbage incinerator in Panyu district due to a wide range of protests from local residents over fears of health and environmental damages.

In addition to Guangzhou, major Chinese cities, such as Beijing and Shanghai, are also planning to build incineration plants to tackle the huge amounts of garbage.

8 Jan 2010

One Comment

  1. James Middleton says:

    What a load of nonsense!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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