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Panyu waste incineration project, Guangzhou, China

In 2009, a conflict on a waste incineration plant between local inhabitants and government in Panyu attracted massive attention. The project was moved to Dagang Town, in Nansha District, the whole Xinlian'ercun village will be demolished.


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
Name of conflict:Panyu waste incineration project, Guangzhou, China
State or province:Guangdong Province
Location of conflict:Panyu District, Guangzhou City
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Waste Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Incinerators
Specific commodities:Domestic municipal waste
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:5.3
Level of Investment for the conflictive project150,000,000
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:more than 300,000 people
Start of the conflict:01/09/2009
Company names or state enterprises:Panyu waste incineration plant from China
Relevant government actors:Panyu District Government, Guangzhou City Government
Urban Landscape Planning Bureau
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:-Friends of Nature
-Green Beagle Environmental Institute
-Nature University
-Eco Canton (Yiju Guangzhou)
-Global Alliance for Incineration Alternative GAIA
-Zero Waste Alliance
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:International ejos
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Displaying banners in buildings.
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Fires, Food insecurity (crop damage), Groundwater pollution or depletion, Noise pollution, Other Environmental impacts, Air pollution
Health ImpactsVisible: Deaths
Potential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..), Infectious diseases, Other environmental related diseases, Occupational disease and accidents
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Land dispossession
Potential: Increase in violence and crime, Loss of livelihood, Specific impacts on women
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Project temporarily suspended
The project was moved to Dagang Town, in the new Nansha District, the whole Xinlian'ercun village will be demolished. New EIA reported in Nov, 2012 to start the project in an alternative place.
Proposal and development of alternatives:Alternative plan with public participation, waste classification
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain: It was temporary stopped, while the waste is continuously increasing, waste incinerators are the most possible choice for the local government, so they found another place for the construction, even if is not economically efficient as their prioritized one.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

Interim Measures for Public Participation in Environmental Impact Assessment

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[1]In the Name of the Public: Environmental Protest and the Changing Landscape of Popular Contention in China, by H. Christoph Steinhardt and Fengshi Wu
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A refuse incineration plant build in Panyu, 300 thousands inhabitants in extreme worries, New Express, Sep 24, 2009

Boundary-Spanning Contention: The Panyu Anti-Pollution [1] Protest in Guangdong, China. Katherine Zhao University of Chicago
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[2] South China Morning Post. Panyu presses on with incinerator plans
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Chinese Newspapers:
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Chinese Newspapers:
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Chinese Newspapers:
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Chinese Newspapers:
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Chinese online community:
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广州垃圾焚烧发电厂终定址 选址时反复被抵制
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Chinese protesters confront police over incinerator plans in Guangzhou. Residents say government is lying over health dangers as Chinese protesters gain confidence and support
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Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

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Other comments:Source on the EIA. (EIA)
Meta information
Contributor:EnvJustice ICTA
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:902
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