Panyu waste incineration project, Guanzhou, China

In 2009, the conflict between local inhabitants and government in Panyu attracted massive attention. The cause was a planned waste incineration plant, which was locally regarded as harmful, and a possible source of cancer-causing emissions. The incident is the first time that concerns for the environment gave rise to a national conflict, involving the public, governments, mainstream media and academia. Many scholars consider it a case of NIMBYism, but there were also claims of environmental injustice.
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Basic Data
NamePanyu waste incineration project, Guanzhou, China
ProvinceGuangdong Province
SitePanyu District, Guangzhou City
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Waste Management
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Incinerators
Waste privatisation conflicts / waste-picker access to waste
E-waste and other waste import zones
Project Details and Actors
Project Details
More than 300,000 people live there, distributed among six apartment buildings. Coupled with nearby Zhongcun Town and Dashi Town, the whole population ranges between 700,000 and 1,000,000.
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Project Area (in hectares)5.3
Level of Investment (in USD)150,000,000
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Potential Affected Populationmore than 300,000 people
Start Date01/09/2009
Company Names or State EnterprisesPanyu waste incineration plant from China
Relevant government actorsPanyu District Government, Guangzhou City Government

Urban Landscape Planning Bureau
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Fires, Food insecurity (crop damage), Groundwater pollution or depletion, Other Environmental impacts
Health ImpactsVisible: Occupational disease and accidents, Infectious diseases, Deaths, Other environmental related diseases
Potential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..)
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Specific impacts on women, Land dispossession
Potential: Increase in violence and crime, Loss of livelihood
Project StatusStopped
Development of AlternativesAlternative plan with public participation, waste classification
Do you consider this as a success?Yes
Why? Explain briefly.The project was stopped, the government promised do not implement without agreed by most of the local communities.
Sources and Materials

Interim Measures for Public Participation in Environmental Impact Assessment


Boundary-Spanning Contention: The Panyu Anti-Pollution [1] Protest in Guangdong, China. Katherine Zhao University of Chicago
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A refuse incineration plant build in Panyu, 300 thousands inhabitants in extreme worries, New Express, Sep 24, 2009


Chinese online community:
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[2] South China Morning Post. Panyu presses on with incinerator plans
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Media Links

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Meta Information
Last update25/06/2014