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November 25th, 2013:

Plymouth residents fight against new incinerator operations

The city council of Plymouth faced strong backlash from residents for approving the building of a new incinerator while ‘operating in camera’. Initially threatening the incinerator opposition with a huge punitive compensation for the MNC behind the project, MVV, if the incinerator could not go ahead, local residents managed to block the incinerator from starting operations by exposing MVV for not having an approved ash deposit site before they started construction work on the incinerator. At the moment, MVV has been formally denied any plans to deposit incinerator ash in the neighbouring towns of Devon county, but MVV officials insist that the incinerator will be operation as scheduled, in 2014.

The new Plymouth incinerator, Jul 2013 (Plymouth Herald)

Read the coverage from the Plymouth Herald here:

China to reduce coal usage for power generation to battle smog and related health issues; could spell end for viable coal production

On the back of the smog that hit Northeastern China last month, the SCMP ran an editorial on serious health concerns seeping throughout China:

The prevalence of smoking in China tends to fudge the contribution of air pollution to the growing incidence of respiratory disease. A couple of examples that emerged this month are timely reminders of the cost of China’s rapid development. In one, an eight-year-old girl has become the nation’s youngest lung-cancer patient, with doctors linking her illness to environmental factors. Dr Feng Dongjie of the Jiangsu cancer hospital says the girl lived on a busy road where she inhaled dust, including superfine particles considered to be the most lethal component of smog.

The other example recalled the saying that a picture is worth a thousand words, except in this instance it was the lack of a picture. The smog that hung over many Chinese cities, including Beijing, last month was so bad in the northeastern city of Harbin , where visibility fell to below three metres, that even public security surveillance cameras could not penetrate thick layers of particles. The immediate concern for the authorities is safeguarding national security though a street surveillance network. They should also be deeply worried about the effects of smog on the public’s health as they are insidious and, if and when the air clears, will linger much longer.

The 'lack of a picture' tells a thousand words: buildings are seen through thick haze in downtown Shanghai. (SCMP/Reuters)