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August 23, 2011

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Home » Metro » Environment

Landfill stinks up the neighborhood

THE Laogang landfill compound in the Pudong New Area was again blamed for a stench permeating Pudong and Yangpu District from Sunday night to yesterday morning, the Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau said.

The bureau received dozens of calls from residents complaining about a bad smell like burning plastic or rotten eggs since late Sunday night.

"We checked all the possible chemical plants, especially those with a record of chemical leak and in accordance with wind direction from wee hours to this morning," said Chen Wei from the environmental bureau yesterday. "Monitoring figures for all candidate plants remained normal."

The investigation found that it was the Laogang Waste Disposal Co that generated a strong smell Sunday night, and the odor spread yesterday morning under a southeast wind and low air pressure.

"It was in line with the time of people's complaint and meteorological conditions," Chen said. "So we considered Laogang was the main source of the smell."

Officials told Laogang personnel to renovate their working procedure to control the smell, which started to vanish about 10am yesterday morning.

The overwhelmed landfill has posed a serious environmental problem, with nearby residents, doctors and lawmakers repeatedly calling for effective measures to solve the problem of odors. People living in nearby villages believe the air is sometimes toxic because many villagers have suffered from serious skin conditions, respiratory diseases and even cancer, and people in their 50s and 60s have died prematurely.

Laogang is the only municipal landfill and processes over 70 percent of local garbage. There is no significant garbage sorting in Shanghai, so the refuse in the dump is both organic and inorganic, harmless and toxic. If sorting and recycling were implemented, the volume would be far less and the facility could handle it better, environmental protection officials said.

Zhao Jin, a Laogang official, said the compound has been worked appropriately. "On the other hand, it is impossible for us to generate no smell under such a strong workload," he said. "Officials inspected us regularly, because of the complaints of air pollution," he said. "We have improved our standard and passed all the checks."

He also blamed the city's slow action on garbage sorting.

"Residents shouldn't complain about us while throwing trash randomly," he said.


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