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Waste Incineration and Disputes



By Zhong Hongchun, Deputy Inspector and Research Fellow of Research Department of Social Development, DRC

The construction and operation of waste incineration plants are proceeding in disputes. On the one hand, waste incineration is imperative; while on the other hand, it has been put under disputes because of not-in-my-backyard complaints made by urban residents.

The ways of waste treatment mainly include composting, land-filling and incineration. Incineration boasts advantages of land-saving, fast-processing and sound capacity-reducing, which is suitable for densely-populated and economically-advanced large and medium-sized cities with inadequate land. It is estimated that incineration will replace land-filling and become the major means of domestic waste treatment by 2020. But now, there remain technical, institutional and management problems in China’s waste incineration, which have led to people’s doubts about waste incineration.

In view of the experience of Japan, the Netherlands and some other countries in the world, the sustainable development of China’s urban waste incineration plants needs to be supported by relevant laws and regulations, proper benefit distribution system, strong technical know-how, and adequate institutions for the implementation of related projects. In addition, waste incineration plants should be scientifically planned, well-designed, normatively operated and strictly regulated. The government, enterprises and social forces should make joint efforts to forge people-oriented and truly standard waste incineration plants with transparency in information and amiable environment.

In light of the current situation of waste treatment in China, efforts should be made in the following aspects for the improvement of harmony between waste incineration plants and urban residents. 1. Environmental discharge must reach relevant standards. 2. Division of responsibilities should be clear and interest relations should be adjusted. 3. Relevant institutions should be fleshed out and ensure their true implementation. 4. Local residents around waste incineration plants should be properly compensated.


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