Shenzhen Residents Protest “Smelliest Landfill in History” By Giving it an AwardPosted: 06/2/2014 8:00 am
The glorious days of China’s top landfill project is over. Over the years, Qingshui River Xiaping landfill in Shenzhen has nabbed some of the most revered accolades possible including a “national model landfill project” award in 2006 and named “a first-rate non-harmful landfill” by China’s then Ministry of Construction.
Eight years later however, the landfill has been given the honor of “the smelliest landfill in history”, a title which local odor-ridden residents have put into words on a jinqi, an honorary banner, and presented to a representative from the garbage dump. The jinqi is usually presented to persons or organisations for their exceptional achievements.
The award was conferred during a mass protest on May 31 when local residents in South Bantian District used their cars to block more than 100 garbage trucks from entering the landfill, “causing serious traffic congestion in several areas in Qingshui River District,” Phoenix News reported. Residents were seen holding signs calling for the landfill’s closure that read:
The bad odor of the Xiaping garbage dump is disturbing the people!
Firmly request the closure of Xiaping garbage dump!
The protest took place just two days after China Environmental News published a report saying the landfill lacks the proper infrastructure to treat waste overflow leaked from the waste piled in the landfill. During the rainy season in Shenzhen, the amount of leachate discharged from the landfill can reach up to 2,000 tons a day, far surpassing the landfill’s designed processing amount of 1,600 tons.
According to photos taken by the newspaper, grey and red-colored waste waters were seen being discharged directly into the city’s sewage system without being treated. The protest underscores the growing tension between China’s fast urbanization and a deteriorating environment as residents have grown more concerned about environment-related issues.
The environment has replaced land disputes in the country as the top cause for social unrest, Bloomberg reported. Every year, the country creates more than 360 million tons of domestic waste, and the quantity is growing by 8% each year, reported China Dialogue.
Most of the country’s waste is dealt with in one of three ways: about 50% is dumped in landfills, 12% is burned and less than 10% is recycled into fertilizer. The rest is left untreated.
If the proper waste management steps are not taken, the tension over the nation’s garbage practices will continue to simmer, if not explode soon. And it’s such a shame: that’s some beautiful embroidery.
The red-colored jingqi reads:
The smelliest dump in all of history
When will there be a reprieve from this vile odor that disturbs the people?
Photos: Takefoto, Phoenix News
Charles Liu contributed to this report