Several people were injured and detained when hundreds of homeowners in Panyu, south of Guangzhou, clashed with local authorities during a protest against the construction of a local waste disposal plant, reported Radio Free Asia.
Approximately 1,000 homeowners in the Fairview Peninsula protested on Wednesday by blocking traffic in and out of the facility located less than 20 meters from the local kindergarten.
Eyewitnesses say physical confrontations broke out between the protestors, police, and a large group of “unidentified men”, and that approximately ten protestors were taken away by police.
The homeowners are upset at not having been consulted or made aware of the new waste disposal plant prior to its construction.
A local resident named He said:
“We didn’t know anything about this until they began work on it, when we saw they had flattened that whole area. We feel as though we’ve been duped, and that this isn’t good … for our kids’ health.”
Elsewhere in Guangdong, a protest against another garbage dump took place on Sunday in Shenzhen that also saw police clash with and detain local residents.
The residents of Wanke No. 5 Garden in Shenzhen’s Bantian district were protesting against the Qingshui River Xiaping landfill, which has become notorious lately due to its odor, something residents lampooned by awarding it the “smelliest landfill in history” an an earlier protest this month.
Environmental issues have become the leading cause of social unrest in China, replacing land disputes, Bloomberg has reported. And it’s a problem that is only increasing in scope: every year, China creates more than 360 million tons of waste, an amount that grows by 8% each year, reported China Dialogue.
Other recent Guangdong protests against garbage dumps have become successful. Protests in Puzhai and Shantou have resulted in the closure of waste incinerator plants last August and in January of this year, respectively.
However, other Guangdong citizens have benefited from their visits to Guangdong garbage dumps. Some 10,000 principals and headmasters of Guangdong schools and colleges visited a 78 meter-high landfill site in Guangdong on June 10.
Deputy headmaster Huang Yuying said the visit was a good chance for the educators to see how garbage from large urban areas is dealt with so that they can better teach students about environmental awareness and how to properly sort and dispose of refuse.
An ambulance with medical personnel were on hand during the visit in case visitors became overwhelmed by the smell.
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