From Voice of America:
Grassroots campaigners in China are increasingly using official channels to push for more transparency when it comes to the environment.
Thomas Johnson, a researcher specializing in Chinese environmental policy at the City University of Hong Kong, says one example of this ongoing struggle is a waste incinerator near the coastal city of Qinhuangdao, in China's northern province of Hebei.
City governments are under great pressure to solve their mounting trash problems, and incineration is an increasingly popular choice. The central government aims to have 300 trash-burning plants in operation by 2015 – twice as many as now. But opposition from local communities has halted work on many plants, at least temporarily.
“Even if they encounter opposition, it is unlikely that local governments or construction companies will say clearly that they will not build the incinerators,” said Mao Da, a researcher at Beijing Normal University who studies solid-waste treatment techniques. “Between the developers' attitude and citizens' persistent opposition, we sometimes realize that the chance of completing some of these plants is very low."
Mao says the Chinese public does not trust the government to enforce technology and safety standards for incinerators, and there is growing concern about the potentially grave risk posed by increasing airborne concentrations of dioxin and other poisons.