Residents in eastern Jiangsu province in China are concerned about their safety. Thousands protested in front of the power plant in Huangtutang town in Wuxi city to stop the launch of a waste-incineration power plant.
“Now we are setting up tents in front of the plant’s gates. Some elderly men and women are here, stopping the waste from entering the plant. We’re waiting for a clear answer from the government. The people don’t want the waste to be burned here.”
The power plant is located in a densely populated area in Huangtutang. Locals say there are a dozen schools within a three-mile radius of the plant. They are concerned the incineration process will produce harmful chemicals like dioxin.
“Yes they say this, but the people no longer believe the government. The government says it’s not toxic and that this is a high tech project. But we have already smelt bad fumes, and some have vomited. That’s why we’re resisting, because the government is lying.”
A Wuxi-based environmentalist Wu Lihong told Radio Free Asia last week he is doubtful authorities can guarantee that fumes from the plant are safe. He says environmental laws are often not enforced, and it’s complicated to sort dangerous waste from the burning process.
Waste-incineration power plants are considered a ‘clean’ alternative to fossil fuel. In China, local authorities can receive large subsidies for building one of these plants.
On Monday authorities mobilized police to break up the protest. They were later forced to retreat as more people joined the demonstration.