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November 24, 2009

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Hundreds protest Guangzhou incinerator

HUNDREDS of residents worried about property values and health risks protested yesterday against the planned construction of a trash incinerator in Guangzhou, capital of southern China's Guangdong Province.

For several months, local residents have voiced opposition on the Internet to the incinerator project in Guangzhou's Panyu District -- home to 2.5 million people.

Officials said the incinerator wouldn't be built until a proper environmental assessment is conducted, although authorities insist it would be safe and wouldn't pose a health threat. They have also said the incinerator was the best way to deal with the nearly 1,700 tons of trash collected daily in Panyu.

About 400 protesters, some holding "Oppose the incinerator" signs, gathered yesterday outside the city government office. The protest ended peacefully in the afternoon.

Many said the value of their apartments has plunged since the government announced it was building the incinerator.

Lu Zhiyi, an official in the city government, said authorities began searching for an incinerator site in 2003 and settled on the proposed site in 2006, according to Guangzhou's Southern Metropolis Daily. At the time, there was no regulation that residents had to be informed of the plans, but such a regulation came into effect last year, Lu reportedly said.

Another official, Ye Wen, told the paper the proposed incinerator site was safe because it was surrounded by mountains on three sides.


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