HANGZHOU, May 11 (Xinhua) -- Construction on a waste incinerator will not start in east China's Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang Province, without public support and before going through the legal process, said local authorities on Sunday.
Xu Wenguang, party chief of Hangzhou's Yuhang District, made the remarks when responding to public concern over the planned waste incinerator project scheduled to be built in Zhongtai Township, Yuhang District.
The Hangzhou municipal government publicized the site of the planned incinerator in April as one of the city's major planned projects to ease its growing garbage disposal pressure.
Residents near the site fear that the project will be harmful to their health and add to pollution. They have gathered several times to protest.
On Saturday, protesters rallied and rushed onto a section of the Hangzhou-Anhui highway, interrupting traffic. At least 10 protestors and 29 policemen were injured as they clashed.
As of Sunday morning, protestors had left the highway, and the Yuhang-Lin'an section of the highway was still closed.
The district government has announced that it will fully listen to public opinion and invite residents to participate in every stage of the project's preliminary procedures, Xu said.
All these efforts are to ensure the public's right to know and participate, he added.
The government understands the public's concerns, but it faces a dilemma. The existing four incinerators in the city cannot keep up with garbage production, according to the Yuhang district government.
The city has to bury more than 5,000 tonnes of landfill waste, much more than the processing capacity of its existing incinerators. This has a huge impact on the environment, and the bearing capacity of the refuse landfill is less than six years, said the government.
The planned new incinerator is the most feasible and effective means to ease the city's garbage quantity and free it from its "garbage siege" dilemma, the government said.
To date, the project is still in the public announcement stage. Local governments have arranged experts on urban construction, planning and environmental protection to hold dialogues with citizen representatives.
Local governments will also invite experts and insiders on waste incineration and processing to answer questions about public concerns, according to the Yuhang district government.
The planned location of the new incinerator is in Zhongtai Township in Yuhang District in western Hangzhou. The site used to be the Jiufeng mine lot, which is surrounded by hills. It is expected to process garbage from residents living in the western part of the city.
Planning for the incinerator's location was done with consideration of the geographical environment, urban planning, nearby traffic conditions and its influence on nearby residents, according to the Hangzhou municipal government.
The government has also promised to use the most advanced equipment and facilities for the project.
To date, all operations related to the project at the Jiufeng mine lot have been stopped.