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
NamePanyu waste incineration project, Guangzhou, 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
Specific CommoditiesDomestic municipal waste
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsMore 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.

The incinerator was supposed to process around 2,200 tonnes of waste per day.

The new proposed incinerator in Panyu is designed to process 2,500 tonnes of solid waste a day, and the capacity is expected to be raised to 2,900 tonnes by 2020 and 4,000 tonnes by 2030. The incinerator would probably serve residents in the Panyu and Nansha districts. [2]

According to figures from 2010, Beijing and Shanghai each produced about 20,000 tonnes of rubbish a day. Central Guangzhou was generating at least 8,000 tonnes a day, with 7,000 tonnes going to the Xingfeng landfill and 1,000 tonnes to the incinerator in Likeng.
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
Environmental justice organisations and other supporters-Friends of Nature

-Green Beagle Environmental Institute

-Nature University

-Eco Canton (Yiju Guangzhou)

-Global Alliance for Incineration Alternative GAIA

-Zero Waste Alliance
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 MobilizingInternational ejos
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationCreation 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-economic 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
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseNew 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.
Development of AlternativesAlternative plan with public participation, waste classification
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly. 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 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

[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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Chinese online community:
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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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[2] South China Morning Post. Panyu presses on with incinerator plans
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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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广州垃圾焚烧发电厂终定址 选址时反复被抵制
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Media Links

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Other Documents

2. No waste incineration, protect green Panyu!
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3. Cartoon satires the experts who support waste incineration.
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4. Cartoon: Hands moving out the waste incinerators, everybody is saying No! No! No!
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1. On the white paper, Not able to meet the leaders, we were represented by others!

On the green banner: No waste incineration, protest green Guangzhou! No waste incineration, protect green Panyu!
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Other CommentsSource on the EIA. (EIA)
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ContributorEnvJustice ICTA
Last update23/05/2017