Waste incineration – so often a source of protest in China – has also lit a fuse among the UK public.
Local officials were forced to back-track this week on plans to approve a £500 million waste incineration scheme after strong public protest against its size, location and potential environmental and health impacts.
Officials from the county of Gloucestershire had signed a contract with the company Urbaser Balfour Beatty (UBB) to build the plant, but in a controversial late move decided to reject the plan.
However, as chinadialogue has reported
, these supposedly "clean" trash-burning plants have a dark underside, with toxic emissions linked to health problems among local residents.
Despite early signs of pollution problems at existing plants and repeated public protests, a major push forward with incineration plants took place in China between 2008 and 2010, the last three years of the 11th Five-Year Plan.
At the end of last year, the German state bank KfW
was the target of protests after its financing of a waste incineration plant in Beijing and a refusal by officials to make public the environmental-impact assessment for the scheme.
In the UK, a new era of so-called green incineration technology with lower emissions and electricity generation have failed to convince many protesters, as the Gloucestershire example illustrates.
Groups like the UK Without Incineration Network (UKWIN) argue that incineration is being pushed too strongly by central government and that burning waste contradicts moves to reduce waste and reinforces a "dump it or burn it" mindset.
It helped launch a Europe-wide petition
last month to ban the construction of new waste-incineration plants.