Liulitun Waste Incineration Power Plant, Haidian District, Beijing, China

One Beijing community's successful fight against plans to build a garbage incinerator shows how environmental activism intersected with a nascent homeowners' rights movement.


Description
In the end of 2006, residents living around Liulitun landfill learned that the Haidian District Government decided to construct a waste incineration power plant on the south side of the landfill with investment of more than 800 million yuan, which would start in March 2007. [1] The plan of local government triggered great opposition of surrounding residents. They worried that the planned plant would degrade the environment and cause serious damage to human health.      The surrounding communities had suffered the pollution caused by the existing landfill for nearly ten years. [1] [3] At the first session of 8th Haidian district committee of People’s Political Consultative Conference on 14th December 2006, 93 Society Haidian District submitted a report which confirmed the serious pollution caused by the Liulitun landfill. Revolutionary Committee of the Chinese Kuomintang of Haidian submitted another report which suggested that it was not suitable to construct a waste incineration power plant in Liulitun due to environmental and health risks. With the support of scholars, local residents submitted an appeal to Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau against the planned project on 29th December 2006. However, the authority didn’t deal with the local residents’ appeal seriously. [1]      Later on, the local residents filed administrative review to request State Environmental Protection Administration and Beijing municipal government to revoke Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau’s approval to the EIA report of the planned plant and the construction planning permit. They questioned the authenticity of public participation in EIA and legality of the construction planning permit. However, their appeal had not been approved by the authorities. In January of 2007 the residents had appealed to the municipal environment protection bureau to withdraw their approval of the plant's environmental impact report. Because the project was also integral to urban planning, they were asked to file another administrative review with the district government. Their request was eventually denied on May 25. The campaign leadership encouraged homeowners to make donations for banners and voice their environmental concerns to neighboring communities. "Some 90 percent of the residents supported our campaign but only a few of them could spare the time to participate in our activities," activist Zhong Minyi explained. [5] "Luckily, one of our neighbors has a connection with Zhou Jinfeng, member of the CPPCC National Committee. In March, Zhou made a proposal on the incinerator plant at the CPPCC Plenary Session. The case was then widely covered by domestic newspapers, which helped to push our campaign forward," Zhong said. "Our campaign was aided by the enthusiasm of young residents and efficient information sharing online. We also faced great resistance from authority. Policemen came to my house twice to persuade me not to get involved in the campaign," Zhong revealed. On June 5, the homeowners stood in uniform shirts outside the offices of SEPA, China's top environmental watchdog, demanding an interview with the director. Two days later, Pan Yue, vice director of SEPA, said at a media briefing that the incinerator's current location was unfit for use because of its proximity to both the city's drinking water source and several nearby communities. Moreover, due to its position, strong northerly winds could easily blow the plant's emissions southward and into other parts of the city. On June 12, SEPA publicly announced the suspension of plant construction and advised the municipal government to better listen to public opinions and gather more experts to assess the project's potential environmental impact.  "The campaign is not over. We have to be vigilant for the revival of the incinerator," Zhong said. The support of Zhou Jinfeng, member of the CPPCC National Committee was crucial. His motion to stop the construction of the planned plant at the CPPCC conference had caused widespread report of the media since April 2007. [3] The activists also organized public campaigns in the surrounding communities. [1] On 5th June 2007 which is World Environment Day, dozens of homeowners living around the planned sitting of the incinerator had launched a collective petition to SEPA. On 7th June 2007, SEPA stated that the construction of Liulitun incineration plant should be postponed until it had been further demonstrated by Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau. [1] In 2010, the planned Liulitun waste incineration power plant was relocated to Dagong village, Sujiatuo town, Haidian district. [4]
Basic Data
NameLiulitun Waste Incineration Power Plant, Haidian District, Beijing, China
CountryChina
ProvinceBeijing
SiteLiulitun
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Waste Management
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Incinerators
Specific CommoditiesDomestic municipal waste
Electricity
Project Details and Actors
Project Details2,000 tons of waste per day.
Level of Investment (in USD)About 120,000,000
Type of PopulationUrban
Start Date01/12/2006
End Date07/06/2007
Relevant government actorsBeijing municipal government, Beijing Environment Protection Bureau, Haidian district government of Beijing, State Environmental Protection Administration of China, etc.
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersMembers of the CPPCC National Committee

Local inhabitants
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingLocal government/political parties
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment of a network/collective action
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Homeowners stood in uniform shirts outside the offices of SEPA
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Soil contamination, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsPotential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Deaths
OtherAlleged emission of dioxin and other furans leading to cancer
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Violations of human rights
Outcome
Project StatusStopped
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseProject cancelled
Do you consider this as a success?Yes
Why? Explain briefly.From December 2006 to June 2007, the local residents living around the proposed sitting of Liulitun waste incineration power plant successfully stopped the construction of this incinerator through a series of actions such as administrative review, public campaigns and collective petitions. Although it is not sure what role the environmental justice played in this protest against Liulitun waste incineration power plant, local residents' collective actions to some extend successfully protected their own civil rights.
Sources and Materials
Links

[1] 北京六里屯垃圾焚烧厂因居民反对拟迁址_新闻_腾讯网
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[2] 南方周末 - 北京六里屯垃圾场事件如何收场
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[3] 北京六里屯垃圾焚烧发电厂缓建始末_新闻中心_新浪网
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[4] 北京将建10座垃圾焚烧发电厂 曾因选址问题遭市民反对-中新网
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Media Links

[5] Community Wages War on Construction. On June 7, 2007, China's State Environment Protection Administration (SEPA) called for a waste incinerator plant in Beijing's northern district of Haidian to suspend construction due to pollution concerns. This was a happy victory for nearby residents who vehemently opposed the proposed plant. A recent feature in the local Democracy & Law daily paper reveals the hard work behind the six-month campaign they launched to safeguard their neighborhood.
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Beijing Neighbors Unite Against Incinerator Plans. April 9, 2009.
Anthony Kuhn

Anthony Kuhn
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Last update15/11/2016
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